After the success of its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch the Mars 2 mission in 2018.
IRSO inserted the spacecraft MOM on September 24 in the Martian orbit with five scientific instruments to search for life-sustaining elements on the planet over nine months after it was launched on Nov 5, 2013 from its spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 90 kms northeast of Chennai.
ISRO’s satellite centre director S. Shiva Kumar stated, “We plan to launch a second mission to Mars in 2018, probably with a lander and rover, to conduct more experiments for which we have to develop new technologies.”
“We will be able to take the Mars-2 mission after launching the second mission to the moon (Chandrayaan-2) in 2016 with our own lander and rover, which will help us develop a separate lander and rover for the red planet,” Kumar said, ahead of a three-day ‘Engineers Conclave-2014′ by the space agency with the Indian National Academy of Engineering in Bangalore.
Shivakumar added that ISRO would launch Mars Mission-2 only after Chandrayaan-2 in 2016. As missions to Mars can be launched only at an interval of two years, the space agency is looking for a slot in 2018. The agency is planning to have a heavy rocket fully operational to carry a lander and rover with scientific experiments as additional payloads.
On January 5, ISRO launched a GSLV rocket with an indigenous cryogenic engine from the spaceport and placed a communication satellite (Gsat-14) in the geo-stationary orbit.
Chandrayaan-1 was launched on October 22, 2008, using a polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV-C11), a four-stage rocket.The 475 kg Mars Orbiter was also launched onboard a polar rocket.
The GSLV-Mark III’s maiden launch is likely to be in December