With just two months before India’s first mission to Mars
arrives at its destination, the country’s space agency has
announced a second mission to launch between 2017 and 2020.
The mission would be in addition to a
one to the Sun planned for launch in 2017 and is a signal of
India’s ever-growing ambitions for space exploration.
Speaking on Thursday, 17 July at the Tata Institute of
Fundamental Research in Mumbai, the head of India’s space agency
Isro said that the mission would be dependant on the success of its
current mission to Mars, the “Mars Orbiter Mission”, or
“Mangalyaan”, which launched in November last year and left
Earth’s orbit in December.
One of the biggest challenges for the Mangalyaan mission, which
is due to insert into Mars orbit on 24 September, is the restarting
of the liquid apogee motor powering the spacecraft.
He told the audience that the current mission is designed to
test India’s ability to insert a spacecraft into orbit around Mars,
while the second mission would be a scientific one, the Times of India reported.
“If we are successful we will be the first country in the world
to accomplish it and also the first Asian country to achieve it,”
said K Radhakrishnan.