Starting Monday, with good spirits, the country’s low-cost Mars mission “Mangalyaan” (aka the ISRO Mars Orbiter) project is in a rendezvous with red planet for an extended period will undergo a blackout phase snapping communication with the satellite from today (8 June) till 22nd June.
“During this period of Mangalyaan on its own Mars mission, there will be absolutely no communication between the satellite and ISRO ground control center. That means Mangalyaan will on an “autonomous mode” and will take its decisions”, according a senior Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) official told PTI.
Mangalyaan will be on its own during this time as the Sun will eclipse the distant red planet which will block all the radio communication.
It’s the first blackout lasting several days since 24th September 2014 when the satellite began orbiting Mars. ISRO is in full of confident about regaining over the total control of the Mangalyaan once the total blackout phase is over. The scenario has been tested earlier; line of communication will be established, informed by the officials.
For Mangalyaan this will be for the first time that there will be a communication break for such a long period of about 15 days from 8 June to 22 June.
The spacecraft’s life was extended for another six months in March due to surplus fuel. Stating that the spacecraft has been “configured” for the blackout, the ISRO official said
“We are not sending any commands to the spacecraft now, till 8th (June) few hours of signals will be sent by the spacecraft-that will be for about two to three (2-3) hours per day” he added.
The satellite will encounter similar situation in the month of May 2016, if the mission is extended. The Mangalyaan continues to be an important ISRO mission, also India’s first ever interplanetary mission. The success of the Mangalyaan mission put India into the elite club of only four countries that have reached to the Mars.
The mission was earlier planned to last for only six months; but was extended by another Six months because of the availability of the fuel. As of writing this article, Mangalyaan has already spent eight months and fourteen days around Mars.