The men who played a crucial role in the success of the Chandrayaan I lunar mission will be the ones forming the core team to oversee India’s Mars Orbiter Mission.
Dr M Annadurai, who was the project director of Chandrayaan I, will be the project director for India’s mission to the Red Planet. The project which will be launched in November 2013. Likewise, SK Shivkumar, who played a key role in realising the entire ground segment for Chandrayaan I, will oversee the design and development of the satellite for Mars Orbiter Mission as director of the Isro Satellite Centre.
The Bangalore-based ISRO Satellite Centre will be the lead centre for the design, development, fabrication and testing of the Mars Orbiter Mission’s payloads and satellites.
Speaking to DNA on being selected as the project director for the Rs450-crore Mars Orbiter Mission, Annadurai said it is a challenging task to supervise a crucial mission like this one, which would be keenly watched world over.
“It is one more challenge for us to execute. The Mars Orbiter Mission is an extension of the earlier mission (Chandrayaan I) as we are looking to explore beyond the Moon,” Annadurai said.
The Mars Orbiter, which will carry onboard nine scientific instruments with a scientific objective to study Mars surface, atmosphere and sustainability of life, will reach the Red Planet 300 days (nine months) after its launch. The Mars Orbiter is scheduled to be launched on board the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV XL), which was also used to launch Chandrayaan I in 2008.
Annadurai said many scientists and engineers who were part of Chandrayaan I mission, which made path breaking discovery of water on the moon, will be part of the Mars Orbiter mission.