ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission gets Space Pioneer Award from US National Space Society


India’s low-cost Mars Orbiter Mission which was launched successfully on Septermber 24, 2014 and has been presented with the Space Pioneer award for the year 2015 by the US’ National Space Society.

The award was presented to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in the Science and Engineering category during the 34th Annual International Space Development Conference held at Toronto in Canada during May 20-24, 2015.

Scripting space history, India on September 24, 2014 successfully placed its low-cost Mars spacecraft in orbit around the red planet in its very first attempt, breaking into an elite club of three US, Russia and Europe who have successfully undertaken missions to Mars or its orbit.

As per latest reports, the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft, Mangalyaan, went under a blackout phase on Monday as the sun blocked Mars from the Earth snapping communication with the satellite for 15 days.

MOM during this period will go into an “autonomous mode” and will take its decisions, a senior Indian Space Research Organisation official told a news agency. He further added, “This will be for the first time that there will be a communication break for such a long period of about 15 days. There will not be any communication with the satellite.”

Assuring that the spacecraft has been “configured” for the blackout, the official also said, “we are not sending any commands to the spacecraft now, till 8th (June) few hours of signals will be sent by the spacecraft-that will be for about two to three hours per day.”

This is the first time since its launch on November 5, 2013 that MOM will be cut off completely from ground stations for such a long period, making it quite a challenging period for the team.