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Giant Metre-wave Radio Telescope in Maharashtra tracks landing of European Space Agency’s Spacecraft on Mars mission

It followed a trajectory that brought it to the point of entering the Martian atmosphere for a landing yesterday evening said by GMRT Dean Yashwant Gupta

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Telescope.Representational image. Pixabay
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Pune, October 20, 2016: In a major achievement, the Giant Metre-wave Radio Telescope (GMRT) at Khodad in Pune tracked the landing of a European Space Agency’s spacecraft on a Mars mission, an official said on Thursday.

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“On Wednesday evening from 7.04 p.m., the GMRT clearly detected and tracked the weak signal emanating from Schiaparelli EDM, all the way into the last phases of the descent of the module through the Martian atmosphere till 8.37 p.m.,” said GMRT Dean Yashwant Gupta.

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To monitor the health of Schiaparelli’s Entry and Descent Module (EDM) during this crucial phase, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration had assigned the GMRT at Khodad, around 60 km from Pune, to act as a receiver station for this mission on behalf of the ExoMars Project, he added.

The EDM of the ExoMarch Project separated from the parent spacecraft, the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), on Octobr 16 after a six-month journey from Earth.

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It followed a trajectory that brought it to the point of entering the Martian atmosphere for a landing yesterday (October 19) evening, Gupta said.

“The six-minute journey through the (Martian) atmosphere is the most hazardous part of the project and many previous Mars lander missions have failed at this critical juncture,” Gupta explained. (IANS)

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American Record-Breaking NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson Set to Return Back to Earth After 288-Days Space Mission

At the time of their landing, Whitson will have gathered a total of 665 days in space over the course of her career which is more than any American astronaut.

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Peggy Whitson
American record-holder NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson. Wikimedia
  • Nasa astronaut Peggy Whitson set to return back to Earth from International Space Station
  • The astronauts return after completing 288 days in space in Expedition 52
  • Peggy Whitson holds the record for the maximum time spend in space by an American astronaut

Washington, September 2, 2017 : NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who holds the record for maximum time spent in space by any American astronaut, is set to return to Earth on Saturday, completing a 288-day mission at the International Space Station.

Whitson and her Expedition 52 crewmates Jack Fischer of NASA and Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are scheduled to land in Kazakhstan at 9.22 p.m. EDT on Saturday (6.52 a.m. Sunday, India time).

At the time of their landing, she will have accrued a total of 665 days in space over the course of her career, more than any American astronaut, placing her eighth on the all-time space endurance list, NASA said.

Whitson’s return will mark the end of her third long-duration stay onboard the space station.

She launched on November 17 with 377 days in space already under her belt, and on April 24 broke Jeff Williams’ standing US record of 534 cumulative days in space.

Whitson also holds the record for most spacewalks by a female.

Yurchikhin and Fischer, who launched in April, will complete 136 days in space on their return. Yurchikhin will return to Earth with a total of 673 days in space on his five flights, putting him in seventh place on the all-time endurance list.

At the time of undocking, Expedition 53 will begin aboard the station under the command of Randy Bresnik.

Along with his crewmates Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency), the three-person crew will operate the station until the arrival of three new crew members.

Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA and Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos, are scheduled to launch on September 12 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, NASA said. (IANS)