Indian Space Research Organisation’s Mars Mission team has won the prestigious 2015 Space Pioneer Award in the science and engineering category in recognition of achieving the rare feat in its very first attempt.
The prestigious award given by the National Space Society would be presented to the ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Programme Team during the National Space Society’s 2015 International Space Development Conference to be held in Toronto from May 20-24.
The mission was launched on November 5, 2013 and went into Mars orbit on September 24, 2014.
In a statement, the society said, this mission has achieved two significant mission firsts. One an Indian spacecraft has gone into orbit around Mars on the very first try (on Sept 24, 2014), which no other country has ever done this.
Secondly, the spacecraft is in an elliptical orbit with a high apoapsis (point at which an orbiting object is farthest away from the body it is orbiting), and has a high resolution camera which is taking full-disk colour imagery of Mars.
“Very few full disk images have ever been taken in the past, mostly on approach to the planet, as most imaging is done looking straight down in mapping mode. These images will aid planetary scientists,” the statement said.
The Mars Orbiter programme team located in Bangalore is headed by Dr Mylswamy Annadurai.
The Space Pioneer Award consists of a silvery pewter Moon globe cast by the Baker Art Foundry in Placerville, California, from a sculpture originally created by Don Davis, the well-known space and astronomical artist.
Image: ISRO's Mars Mission team celebrates after it achieved success on its first attempt.