Mars mission brings Modi to Bangalore

Bangalore : Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive here Tuesday evening on a two-day visit to witness an Indian spacecraft enter the Martian orbit early Wednesday at the space agency’s mission control centre in this tech hub.

“As Modi is also in-charge of the space department, he has expressed keen interest to witness the historic event when the spacecraft enters the Martian orbit in its maiden attempt,” a senior space official told IANS here.

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After an overnight stay at Raj Bhavan in the city, Modi will drive to the mission control centre in the telemetry, tracking and command network (Istrac) of the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in the northern suburb to view the crucial operation when the Orbiter will enter the Martian orbit from the sun’s orbit.

“Though the orbit insertion exercise begins at 4.17 a.m., the prime minister will be at the mission control centre from 6.45 a.m. to watch the crucial operation when the spacecraft main engine will be fired at 7.17 a.m. to carry it through the region to enter the Martian orbit by 7.53 a.m.,” the official said.

As command signals to the spacecraft and signals from it to the mission control centre take 12.5 minutes each way, confirmation about its insertion into the orbit will be known by 8.15 a.m.

ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishanan and senior scientists in-charge of the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) will brief the prime minister about the operations.

Incidentally, a month after he assumed office in May, Modi visited the country’s only spaceport June 30 at Sriharikota off the Bay of Bengal and about 80 km northeast of Chennai to witness the rocket launch of five foreign satellites by the space agency’s commercial arm Antrix Corporation.

With Modi visiting Karnataka for the first time after becoming the prime minister in May, his party (BJP) is according a grand welcome at the HAL airport in the eastern suburb.

“Our party leaders and thousands of workers want to felicitate Modi on his maiden visit to the state after becoming PM and for bringing the party to power with majority,” a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesman told IANS.

Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Mayor S. Shantakumari will receive Modi at the military airport.

Before leaving for Raj Bhavan, Modi will address the party’s state unit leaders and about 10,000 workers at the airport.

Before flying back to New Delhi Wednesday afternoon, Modi will inaugurate a mega integrated food park at Koravahalli near Tumkur, about 70km from here, and address the gathering, which will include about 5,000 farmers and 10,000 BJP workers.