Mars nerve centre moves to ISTRAC
After putting the India’s maiden spacecraft to Mars into space from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, the nerve centre of the ongoing Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) has been shifted to the Bangalore-based tracking centre,ISTRAC (ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command network).
What is the role of ISTRAC?
ISTRAC is responsible for providing Space Operation services that include spacecraft control, TTC support services and other related projects and services, for the launch vehicle and low earth orbiting spacecraft and deep space missions of ISRO and other space agencies around the world. Development of RADAR systems for tracking & atmospheric applications and Establishment of Ground Segment Network for Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System of ISRO are the additional responsibilities of ISTRAC. In the ongoing MOM, ISTRAC will communicate with the spacecraft, correct its course and command it throughout the life of the spacecraft.
Upcoming Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) events:
Between November 7 and December 1, ISTRAC would progressively stretch one end of the ellipse (at the apogee or farthest point from Earth) through orbit raising manoeuvres. By December 1, the spacecraft must be put on the path to Mars. In the meantime ISTRAC must raise the spacecraft’s apogee to over a lakh km.
ISTRAC’s two large antennas, of 18-metre and 32-m diameter, located at the Indian Deep Space Network at Byalalu, will have a significant role. As the mission proceeds, ISRO will also get position data from NASA’s Deep Space Network through its three stations located in Canberra, Madrid and Goldstone on the U.S. West Coast.