Mangalayaan derived from a Sanskrit word is a space probe launched by ISRO as part of their Mars Orbiter Mission. The probe was launched on 05 Nov 2013 with quite a few distinctions achieved in the process. India became the first country in the world to have successfully launched a vehicle into the Mars orbit, in its very first attempt. The successful interplanetary mission places India in the league with the Soviet Space agency, NASA and the European Space Agency. The probe was placed into its specific orbit around Mars, on 24 September 2014. India is the first and only Asian nation to have taken a place in this august circle of countries.
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ISRO Chairman, AS Kiran Kumar has given an update on the probe in which it has been stated that all systems onboard “Mangalyaan” have been functioning without any problem. He was speaking at the IIT –Gandhinagar during its scheduled annual lecture series event. Even after the event, Mr. Kumar clarified to the waiting reporters, regarding the health of “Mangalayaan”. He mentioned that the initial estimate had been a program of six months duration. However with time the period was extended and it has now been orbiting for two years without any fault. There is however, he mentioned, a long eclipse period coming up in January 2017 which would affect the battery power of “Mangalayaan”. To cater for this phenomenon, ISRO is working out a course correction routine on “Mangalayaan”. Post this course correction, he mentioned that “Mangalayaan” is expected to remain in service for many more years. This he mentioned would permit study of many seasonal activities on mars.
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Mr. Kumar also spoke about the next ISRO project, named Chandrayaan II which is expected to be in orbit by the end of 2018. The Rover engineering version is at present in the testing stages, he mentioned. There would be a major difference though in Chandrayaan II as against the Chandrayaan I, as Chandrayaan II is being programmed for a controlled descent which was not so in case of Chandrayaan I.