January 16th, 2015
India’s first interplanetary mission continues to set its trail ablaze as ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Programme Team, headed by Dr. Mylswamy Annadurai, was announced the winners of the 2015 Space Pioneer Award in the Science and Engineering category by the US-based National Space Society (NSS).
The award, which is in recognition of the success of the rare feat in its maiden attempt, will be presented to an ISRO representative in May, during the NSS’s 34th International Space Development Conference, to be held in Toronto, Canada.
As per a statement issued by the Society, “This mission has achieved two significant mission firsts.
1. An Indian spacecraft has gone into orbit around Mars on the very first try. No other country has ever done this.
2. The spacecraft is in an elliptical orbit with a high apoapsis, and has a high resolution camera which is taking full-disk color imagery of Mars. Very few full disk images have ever been taken in the past, mostly on approach to the planet, as most imaging is done looking straight down in mapping mode. These images will aid planetary scientists.”
The Mars Orbiter Mission, or Mangalyaan, was launched by the state-run space agency on board its PSLV C25 from Sriharikota’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre on November 5, 2013 and went into orbit on September 24, 2014. The mission is a project to develop technologies for design, planning, management, and operations of an interplanetary mission, and carries five instruments that will help advance knowledge about the red planet to achieve its secondary, scientific objective.