The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is launching a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) this Tuesday (5 Nov 2013) from Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India, flying on the PSLV-C25 mission with Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), informally called Mangalyaan onboard.


    The Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft is enclosed inside the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle fairing. Credit: ISRO / SpaceflightNow

Looking through the mission objectives, it seems the scientific payload is of secondary nature and ISRO's primary objectives are limited to building the spacecraft, getting there, and communicating with the spacecraft by extending the India's Deep Space Network (the launch was delayed from late October to early November due to, I believe, one of the launch tracking ships not being able to get to Fiji in time because of a tropical storm in the Pacific Ocean).

BBC's interview with K. Radhakrishnan, chair of ISRO further emphasises main objectives:

Essentially in this Mars mission, which we are planning, the prime objective is to demonstrate India's capability to capture the Martian orbit and then to conduct a few meaningful scientific experiments.

    MOM scientific payload

    Proto-flight model of the payloads for Indian Mars Mission (Source: PDF, 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference)

The spacecraft's 15 kg (33 lb) scientific payload still includes five instruments to conduct atmospheric, particle environment and surface imaging studies, with focus on establishing the presence of methane in the Martian environment. But all this sounds more like being a preliminary mission paving the way for future ISRO's missions to Mars, so it naturally begs the question:

What plans does ISRO have for future exploration of Mars? What are the India's Mars exploration campaign goals, which future missions are approved, in development, under consideration or on the drawing boards that are known to public?

Update: I see there's some confusion on where my question is coming from. This is not a non-researched question asking about what information is so far presented to the general public. To quote Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) when asked about India's efforts to explore Mars:

Would India have an ongoing Mars programme or would the 2013 mission be a one-mission agenda? If not, then has ISRO developed any well articulated Mars agenda? Has ISRO started preparations for any missions for the launch windows in 2016 and 2018 respectively?

Of course, while exploring the launch opportunities in the year 2013, 2016 and 2018, we have also studied the possible launch opportunities, corresponding velocity requirements and payload capabilities for Orbiter missions to planet Mars beyond 2018 as well.

Source: Ajey Lele, Mission Mars, SpringerBriefs in Applied Sciences and Technology, Appendix E

This statement has to have some grounds somewhere, in actual planned missions, draft proposals, and so on. A chairman of ISRO wouldn't be discussing future launch windows to Mars, if there wasn't a good reason for it. What are these reasons? In essence, what comes next, after Mangalyaan, for ISRO and their endeavors to explore the red planet?


2 Answers 2


Their future plans does not have Mars as a target at the moment. The ISRO is working manned mission technology in addition to the Moon, Venus, Sun and asteroid probes. They are also working to collaborate more with NASA on Mars and Moon missions after their first successful NASA/ISRO success:

“To this end the working group agreed to continue discussions in planetary science and Heliophysics to identify areas of potential cooperation,” the statement said, adding, “the value of bilateral cooperation was well reflected, for instance, through the inclusion of two NASA instruments on the successful Chandrayaan-1 lunar mission, which led to significant discoveries about lunar surface characteristics,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said Thursday at the fourth US-India Civil Space Joint Working Group meeting in Washington.

Future Mars ISRO missions will probably be a collaborative effort to accomplish more advanced research.


There are proposals for a follow-up mission to Mars, involving a lander:


This mission would be launched using either the GSLV-Mk2 or Mk3.


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