This week, we congratulate two space agencies on the anniversaries of their spacecraft!
First, this week marks the 3rd anniversary of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Mars mission. ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) began with its launch on 30 November 2013. Its Mangalyaan probe reached Martian orbit on 24 September 2014, after a 298-day transit.
Mangalyaan has now spent 3 years making an estimated 400 orbits of Mars, exceeding its expected mission duration of only 6 months. It has also set records for being the lowest-cost Mars mission to date (approximately US$71 million), and the first time an single country has reached Mars on its first attempt. To commemorate the occasion, ISRO has just released MOM’s second year science data.
Also, 28 September marks the 2nd anniversary of LAPAN-A2, also known as LAPAN-ORARI. This 78-kg microsatellite is the first indigenous satellite of Indonesian space agency LAPAN, developed under the guidance of German university TU Berlin. Besides Earth Observation (EO), LAPAN-A2 is used for maritime tracking and also facilitates communications of the Organisation for Amateur Radio Indonesia (ORARI) for disaster relief. According to LAPAN, the satellite has benefited Indonesia tremendously.