Indian probe to fire engine for Mars [Update]

The Indian  Mangalyaan Mars Orbiter spacecraft will soon begin to fire its engine for 23 minutes, which will put the probe on an earth escape trajectory that will allow it to intercept Mars on Sept. 24, 2013. The burn should start at  12.49 am IST (Sun.) or 2:19 pm EST (Sat.), 19:19 pm GMT.

[ Update: The engine firing was a success:

Mars Orbiter Spacecraft Successfully placed in Mars Transfer Trajectory

The critical manoeuvre to place India’s Mars Orbiter Spacecraft in the Mars Transfer Trajectory was successfully carried out in the early hours of today (Sunday, December 1, 2013). During this manoeuvre, which began at 00:49 today, the spacecraft’s 440 Newton liquid engine was fired for about 22 minutes providing a velocity increment of 648 meters/second to the spacecraft. Following the completion of this manoeuvre, the Earth orbiting phase of the spacecraft ended. The spacecraft is now on a course to encounter Mars after a journey of about 10 months around the Sun.

It may be recalled that Mars Orbiter spacecraft was launched into an elliptical parking orbit with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 248 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 23,550 km by India’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV on November 5, 2013. Following this, the apogee height of the spacecraft’s orbit was successively raised through a series of manoeuvres to nearly 1,93,000 km. Besides, health checks of the Mars Orbiter spacecraft as well as its payloads were performed. Since its launch, all systems on-board Mars Orbiter spacecraft are performing normally.

The spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Spacecraft Control Centre at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennae at Byalalu.

Since its launch on November 5th, the spacecraft has fired its on board engine six times to enlarge its orbit around earth. It will need to fire its engine again at that time to go into orbit around the Red Planet.