Chennai: India’s Rs.450 crore Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) suffered a minor hiccup Monday morning as the spacecraft’s orbit could not raised to the expected levels as fuel flow to the engine stopped, Indian space agency said.

In a statement, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said during the fourth orbit-raising operations Monday the redundancies built-in for propulsion system were exercised.

While doing the planned exercise, the flow of liquid fuel to the onboard engine stopped.

This resulted in reduction of incremental velocity so the Mars Orbiter was not able to reach the targeted apogee (farthest point from earth) of 100,000 km from 71,636 km, the ISRO statement said.

ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan told IANS over phone, “The apogee achieved is 78,276 km.”

According to the space agency, the health of Mars Orbiter is normal and a supplementary orbit-raising operation is planned Tuesday morning 5 a.m. to raise the apogee to nearly 100,000 km.

ISRO said the spacecraft was imparted an incremental velocity of 35 metres per second as against 130 metres/second originally planned to raise the apogee to 100,000 km.

A senior official of ISRO on the condition of anonymity told IANS that the deviations would be corrected in the subsequent operations.

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