India's first Mars satellite 'Mangalyaan' enters orbit | The Daily Star
10:16 AM, September 24, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

India's first Mars satellite 'Mangalyaan' enters orbit

India's first Mars satellite 'Mangalyaan' enters orbit

A 24-minute engine burn slowed the probe down enough to allow it to be captured by Mars' gravity. Photo: BBC
A 24-minute engine burn slowed the probe down enough to allow it to be captured by Mars' gravity. Photo: BBC

India has successfully put a satellite into orbit around Mars on its first attempt.

The Mangalyaan robotic probe arrived in orbit early on Wednesday following a 10-month journey from Earth.

A 24-minute engine burn slowed the probe down enough to allow it to be captured by Mars' gravity.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was at the mission control centre in the southern city of Bangalore, said India had achieved the "near impossible".

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) congratulates K Radhakrishnan, head of the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), after India's Mars Obiter successfully entered the red planet's orbit, at their Spacecraft Control Center in the southern Indian city of Bangalore September 24, 2014.  Photo: Reuters
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) congratulates K Radhakrishnan, head of the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), after India's Mars Obiter successfully entered the red planet's orbit, at their Spacecraft Control Center in the southern Indian city of Bangalore September 24, 2014. Photo: Reuters

"The odds were stacked against us. Of 51 missions attempted in world only 21 have succeeded. We have prevailed," he said.

Only the US, Europe and Russia have previously sent missions to Mars. The latest US satellite, Maven, arrived at Mars on Monday.

US space agency Nasa congratulated its Indian counterpart on Wednesday's success.

"We congratulate @ISRO for its Mars arrival! @MarsOrbiter joins the missions studying the Red Planet," the agency tweeted.

The total cost of the Indian mission has been put at 4.5bn rupees ($74m; £45m), which makes it one of the cheapest interplanetary space missions ever.

The Mangalyaan probe will now set about taking pictures of the planet and studying its atmosphere.

One key goal is to try to detect methane in the Martian air, which could be an indicator of biological activity at, or more likely just below, the surface.

Mangalyaan - more formally referred to as Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) - was launched from the Sriharikota spaceport on the coast of the Bay of Bengal on 5 November 2013.

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