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Indian Mars mission suffered engine glitch
Posted: Mon, Nov 11, 2013, 1:27 PM ET (1827 GMT)
India Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft illus. (ISRO) A problem with the main engine on India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft caused the spacecraft to fall short of its planned altitude on its latest orbit-raising maneuver Monday, but officials said they believed the problem could be easily corrected. The maneuver, the fourth of six planned since last week's launch, changed the velocity of the spacecraft by only 35 meters per second, instead of the planned 120 meters per second; the apogee of the spacecraft's orbit increased from 71,600 to 78,300 kilometers, instead of to the planned 100,000 kilometers. The Indian Space Research Organisation said in a statement that primary and secondary controls for a propellant flow valve were turned on simultaneously during the maneuver, which had the inadvertent effect of shutting off the flow of propellant to the engine. ISRO said it plans to carry out a supplemental maneuver early Tuesday to put the spacecraft into the planned orbit. Two final maneuvers by the end of this month will put MOM on a trajectory to Mars, arriving in September 2014.
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