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In a bid to evade the long-duration eclipse, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully realigned the orbit of its Mars Orbiter Mission ‘Mangalyaan’.

The news about the successful realignment was revealed by ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar so said that if they had done nothing about it, the battery of the Mars orbiter would have exhausted for lack of sun rays. There was no choice for the space agency but to realign the ‘Mangalyaan’ to keep the spacecraft performing the scientific observations of the Red Planet.

The manoeuvre was carried out on January 17 to change the orbit of Mars Orbiter Mission. The manoeuvre was successful and with 30 kg fuel left on the spacecraft it will work for a very long time to come and continue providing ISRO and the world with stunning imagery as well as scientific data about Mars.

ISRO said that the trajectory correction manoeuvre was required to keep the power supply strong during the eclipse – caused by shadow of Mars falling on it for 7-8 hours – so that it could continue to function longer, as Mangalyaan’s battery cannot support long-duration eclipse. Kumar also said work on ISRO’s ambitious South Asia satellite project has begun. The satellite is expected to be launched by March this year, he said.

ISRO expects the satellite to launch by March with GSLV Mark II rocket doing the honours. The satellite will have provisions for telecommunication and disaster monitoring, among others, Kumar said.

He also informed that work on ‘Chandrayaan II’ has begun and the satellite is expected to be launched in the first half of 2018.

“Experiment works on Chandrayaan II are on. We are testing soft landing engines at Mahendragiri and a place in Karnataka by simulating lunar surface. We plan to launch it in the first half of 2018,” he said.

Kumar was the chief guest at the 6th convocation of Gujarat Technological University where a total 87,258 students were conferred degrees in different streams of engineering, pharmacy, business administration, computer application, hotel management, among others.

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