( How will the Martian orbit be established? Read here )
Q: Why Mars?
Q: Why this time?
A. April 8th ,2013 is a special day in relation between Earth and Mars.
This closeness opportunity comes once every 26 months ( approx ) as seen in the table below.
Date of Closest Approach Dist bet Earth and Mars
Jan. 29, 2010 99.3 million km
This window was upto Dec 7th .. else one would have to wait for next opportunity after 26 months.
Q. MOM was launched on 8th Nov and reach Mars 14th Sept 2013.
MAVEN was launched on 18th Nov and will reach Mars on 22nd Sept.
Is MOM orbit design inferior to MAVEN.
A. You can't compare the two missions on any scale except that Origin and Destination are same.
MAVEN ( launch weight 2500 Kgs approx) was launched using a very powerful Atlas V Centaur rocket. This rocket carried it to about 770 Kms. Then it was powered continuously by increasing its speed using a small rocket which was still attached to the spacecraft. This increased its speed upto the required Interplanetary Transfer orbit speed. MAVEN was spin stabilized in this phase. So it was directly put in Transfer Orbit.
MOM on the other hand had a weight of 1340 Kgs. It was launched using PSLV upto about 250 Kms and was launched in 248 X 23550 Kms orbit. In 6 subsequent burns near Perigee of its 440N Liquid engine brought it finally in 11864 Kms Apogee orbit. ( this is explained later as an answer to another question.
Apart from launch their Interplanetary Transfer orbit is also different .. MOM has its inclination of 2.22 deg while MAVEN has inclination of 2.02 deg.
Q, But wasn’t the MOM launched in Nov .. not Dec?
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