The Indian Space Research Organisation’s ambitious plan to send an orbiter to Mars has received a boost with the Budget presented in Parliament on Friday making an allocation of Rs. 125 crore for the mission during the coming financial year.
The project, which comes on the heels of the Chandrayaan mission to moon, envisages placing a spacecraft in the Red planet’s orbit to study its atmosphere with the help of ISRO’s work horse launch rocket – Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle [PSLV].
The ISRO had been aiming at launching the mission either in 2016 and 2018. But, it seems the launch could happen earlier, in November next year itself, going by the Budget document.
According to the document, “Mars Orbiter mission envisages launching an Orbiter around Mars using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle [PSLV-XL] during the Novermber 2013 launch opportunity. Mars orbiter will be placed in an orbit of 500 x 80,000 km around Mars and will have a provision to carry nearly 25 kg of scientific payload on- board”.
The Budget for 2012-13 also provides an allocation of Rs. 60.46 crore for ISRO’s human spaceflight programme and Rs. 170 crore for its plans to put in place a regional navigation satellite system for the Indian sub-continent on the lines of the U.S.-operated Global Positioning System.
Besides, the Chandrayaan-II mission to moon, which is planned to be launched in 2014-15, has been provided Rs. 82.50 crore. The amount also includes some allocation for the Chandrayaan-I mission.