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Book on Indian space saga unveiled

Today:-Bengaluru, Nov- An illustrative book on Indian space programme from inception to the historic Mars mission on maiden attempt was unveiled here on Thursday.

Titled “From Fishing Hamlet to Red Planet”, the 700-page book was released by Indian space agency’s former chairman U.R. Rao at a function, marking the second anniversary of the Mars Orbiter Mission launch on this day in 2013.

The Rs.450-crore Mars mission was launched on November 5, 2013 from the spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 90km northeast of Chennai, and its Orbiter was placed in the Martial orbit on September 24, 2014.

Edited by veteran space scientist P.V. Manoranajan Rao and published by Harper Collins, the book is priced at Rs.899, while its e-version is uploaded on the website of the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (www.isro.gov.in) for free download.

“The book records our innovative approach since beginning to develop space technologies for national development,” ISRO chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said on the occasion.

The compendium traces the evolution of the country’s satellites, launch vehicles and application programmes from a historical perspective, with contributions from many pioneers of the space programme.

“We need to shoulder new responsibilities in the contemporary times,” Kumar added.

The space agency also held a technical meeting at its telemetry, tracking and command network (Istrac) in the city, where the mission’s challenges faced during the past one year of the Orbiter’s operations around the red planet and the data received from its payloads.

“A few weeks after the Orbiter’s insertion into the Martian orbit, the 1.3-tonne spacecraft operations team managed the task of maintaining it during the passage of comet Siding Spring in October 2014 near the red planet,” the space agency said in a statement later, as the media was kept away from the function.

“Orbiting around Mars, the spacecraft has sent hundreds of pictures, including numerous full disc images owing to the unique elliptical orbit in which it was placed,” the statement said.

Data sent by the Orbiter’s four other scientific instruments is being analysed.

“The spacecraft is circling the red planet in an orbit with a periareion (nearest point to Mars) of 311 km and an apoareion (farthest point to Mars) of 71,311 km. The spacecraft health is normal,” the statement added.Former ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan and other space scientists, engineers and officials of the space agency were present at the book launch.

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