The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully inserted the Mars Orbital Mission (MOM) into Martian orbit, making it the first country to successfully send an orbiter to Mars on its first attempt. The cost of the mission was also just over $70 million, making it one of the least expensive missions to Mars. The mission will study surface features, morphology, mineralogy, and Martian atmosphere.
Indian author Gokulananda Mahapatra (b.1926) died on July 10. Holding a Masters of Science degree, Mahapatra wrote popular science books as well as science fiction novels and short stories in the Oriya language. His science writing won him the Kalinga Prize in 2010. Some of his science fiction included the novels Pruthibi bahare manisa, Nishabda Godhuli, and Mrutyu rashmi.
Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad will present an award for Best Science Fiction to PN Krishnankutty and B Josukutty on February 26. The award is organized by Indian magazine Shastragathi and the winners selected by a jury, which this year was comprised of CG Ramachandran Nair, B Sunitha, and G Sajan. Krishnankutty is being honored for his story “AD 2050″ and Josukutty is being honored for “British Food India Limited.” Both stories will be published in a future issue of Shastragathi.
An Indian GSLV F06 rocket exploded moments after launch on Saturday, December 25. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists poured over the flight data trying to figure out what caused a failure in the communication system that was supposed to carry commands to the rocket. The rocket veered off course within 47 seconds of launch and caught fire within another 16 seconds at which time a self-destruct command was successfully relayed to the rocket. The rocket had a communications satellite payload.
India has ended its first unmanned lunar mission after attempting to regain contact with its lost spacecraft. India lost contact with Chandrayaan-I on August 29 and has determined that there is no way to reestablish communications, although India has requested help from both the United States and Russia in locating the missing craft. According to Indian sources, the satellite, which is already in lunar orbit, has completed most of its scientific missions and has already completed 3400 orbits.