back to article Martian MOM LAYS another EGG in SPACE - but it's not big enough

India's mission to Mars ran into its first problem today, failing to reach the required apogee of 100,000km when it tried to lift up its orbit. The orbital trajectory of India The planned orbital trajectory of India's Mangalyaan Mars probe The Mangalyaan probe, aka the Mars Orbiter Mission or MOM, is due to keep circling …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well Well

    They should have put more curry juice in it, innit?

    1. CCCP

      Re: Well Well

      Your comment reeks of "they should feed the poor first" as well as the obvious racism.

      A society needs to lift all levels of achievement, including space if you're the size of India, to develop. Rocket scientists want to be, well, rocket scientists whatever their nationality. So you either export them all, or have some rocketry of your own.

      Go India. Even it it fails you have succeeded.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the chances of anything getting to Mars

    ... are a million to one, they said ...

    ... but still ... they came!


  3. Crisp

    That's not a slingshot!

    That's a Hohmann transfer!

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: That's not a slingshot!

      I've tweaked the article.


      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: That's not a slingshot!

        Minimal ΔvLow thrust Hohmann transfer orbits are the equivalent of cheap cloud hosting ... in SPAACE!

  4. Steven 1

    Should have used MechJeb...

    1. Clive Galway

      I think they did, but it was a fuel flow issue. I reckon they either didn't strut enough or went too heavy on the time acceleration and the physics went all screwy.

      1. M Gale

        Nononono. Struts are for when it moves when it's not supposed to. If it doesn't move when it IS supposed to, the correct response is "moar boosters".

        1. PeteA

          Of course not!

          If it doesn't move when it IS supposed to, the correct response is "WD40"

  5. Miek

    That'll be one seriously hot MOM if it goes that close to the sun.

  6. Jimboom

    You MOM so heavy that even a 440-Newton rocket failed to break her free of earths orbit!

  7. Suricou Raven

    Looks familiar.

    I run that route in Kerbal Space Program.

    1. Ben Holmes

      Re: Looks familiar.

      Depends if you let MechJeb handle all your rendezvous maneuvers or not :-)

  8. Mine's a pint

    two coils

    Can anyone spell phase?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: two coils

      Four candles?

    2. Hurn

      Re: two coils

      Energize one coil - valve opens

      Energize other coil - valve opens

      Energize both coils - valve stays shut

      This does sound like a phase or polarity issue. One of the coils could be backwards (either physically or electrically).

      1. Vociferous

        Re: two coils

        So you're suggesting that they... reverse the polarity?

        Please tell me this might require diverting power from the deflector dish.

        1. The Vociferous Time Waster

          Re: two coils

          They should compensate.

  9. taxman

    I always thought that to be a MOM you shouldn't use a coil, let alone two

  10. Gene Cash Silver badge

    They did get lucky

    Their unusual mission design lets them recover from this, instead of a risk-it-all one-big-burn.

  11. Uncle Ron


    It is stunning to me that they did this WHOLE THING for less than $80 Million US. Rocket, spacecraft, the works for less than it costs us to design one.

    1. F111F

      Re: Cost be accurate, they haven't "done it' yet. They've accomplished a few percentage points of the whole mission so far. The hard bits are the long voyage and then transfer into a Martian orbit.

      Still, a beer for what's been accomplished so far...

      1. lorisarvendu

        Re: Cost

        "Still, a beer for what's been accomplished so far..."

        Since everyone in Mission Control is likely to be a Muslim, Sikh or Hindu, I'd drink the beer yourself.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          You are having a slight problem and will not energize both coils today

          I'd drink the beer yourself

          There's the problem.

          By Golly, only nations hardened to the vagaries of engineering by large quantities of ethanol have been been around the solar system! Ethanol - it's not for only for A4s!

  12. Stuart Halliday

    Why do I get the horrible feeling that people want this Probe to fail?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Could be a neural misfire due to something serious. Better see the doc.

  13. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Note the hstory of Mars probes has been hit and miss.

    It's pretty challenging.

    But there is room in their plan to compensate for this.

    Still a long way to go.

  14. Raj

    I'm surprised that a simple orbit raising maneuver glitch warrants an article of its own here. Why the crab mentality ? The amount of self righteous indignation of the "how dare they accept our money and spend it on rockets ??" variety, combined with the desire to see us fail is both laughable and sad.

    1. Vociferous

      Who wants to see it fail?

      That said, it's quite LIKELY it'll fail. The indian space program has very little experience and sending probes to Mars is difficult. I'll be extremely impressed and happy if they succeed, but I don't think it's the way to bet.

      1. Captain DaFt

        "That said, it's quite LIKELY it'll fail."

        NASA, ESA, Japan, China, India, whoever.

        On a Mars mission, that's the safe bet. But even if the mission fails, There's lessons to be learned, and new ideas to try.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ALT text

    The alt text on the diagram reads "The orbital trajectory of India"

    I think you'll find that that's quite closely tied to the orbital trajectory of the Earth.

  16. mhollis

    I, for one, am rooting for them. In terms of the science, it's redundant -- but coordinated redundancy is quite useful to science.

    As to the cost difference, the US fields much more complex probes and use expensive boosters to achieve solar orbit, rather than using orbital mechanics to achieve the solar orbit necessary.

  17. Yso Serious

    Author Novice

    Why do it get the feeling that this article is sarcastic. Comparing an elliptical orbit to egg and author must know that there is no height, once any object leaves earth's atmosphere. Author must buy a dictionary and learn the meaning for words like, apogee and perigee. Well at least someone is trying even though redundant. Can anyone explain, why we stopped pursuing Mars mission ?

  18. HarryR

    Nobody wants this to fail.

    This is fascinating. But it is difficult. Everything is trimmed down to save mass and everything needs to work exactly when and as when it's needed while surviving in an extreme environment.

    The total cost of the Indian space programme is a drop in the ocean compared to the costs of programmes for the poor who can ultimately only be assisted by economic policies and sustained good administration.

    The US and other societies had other compelling needs when they developed their space programmes - and still do. Does anyone still believe that they did not benefit from those programmes? From forcing their industries and research institutes to up their game, development of new materials and techniques and the ability to bring satellites to orbit.

    Indian scientists and engineers are active all over the world. Giving them something to do at home seems a sensible use of the resource they represent.

  19. veeguy

    Can't be long...

    Don't you think Pakistan is feverishly planning a space mission to "keep up with the Jones'es?" Feel good Google commercials aside, they still seem to be on a game of "oneupmenship" with the Indians.

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