History has been created today. India's first inter-planetary mission - 'Mars Orbiter Mission' (MOM) or Mangalyaan has been successfully placed into the Martian orbit and that too in the very first attempt.
The glorious moment can be termed as a 'giant leap' for the Indian space agency ISRO as well as the country as a whole in the realm of space.
No wonder, with a budget of Rs 450 crores or $74 million, MOM is the world's cheapest inter-planetary mission. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was once quoted as saying, “Our space programme 'Mangalyaan' costs less than the Hollywood movie 'Gravity'.”
In contrast, NASA's MAVEN mission, which also entered the Martian orbit two days ago, cost around $670 million.
It was pleasant to see the PM witness the historical event in Bangalore standing right next to ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan. And one of the best scenes coming out of the mission control during the insertion time was when an elated PM patted the back of Dr Radhakrishnan and complimented the scientists for making space history.
And yes, one should not forget that the ambitious project of Mangalyaan was first publicly announced by our former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh. I am sure, with today's success, although he has left the office, he too must be beaming with pride.
ISRO's Mars mission success has placed the country in the elite club of Mars explorers - US, Europe and Russia, which reached the Red Planet after initial failures. It has also put the country ahead of China, and also Japan, in the race to the Red Planet. With this feat, the Indian space agency has become the fourth space agency to enter Mars planet after NASA (US), Roscomos (Russia) and ESA (Europe).
India's Mars Orbiter was launched on November 5, 2013 from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C-25) rocket.
With its homegrown technology, MOM's on-orbit mission is estimated to be between 6-10 months.
The primary objective of the mission is to demonstrate the nation's technological advancement. The secondary objective is to explore the Martian surface and its mineral composition and scan its atmosphere for methane using indigenous scientific instruments.
Over the past decades, of the 51 missions carried out across the world so far, only 21 had succeeded. However, our brilliant scientists, in their own style, have set the record straight in mere three hours.
Of course it was a make or break moment for the space scientists as they waited with bated breath while giving a final push to insert the spacecraft into the intended orbit. Overcoming all the hurdles so far, ISRO has once again proved its technological prowess in undertaking outer space missions.
One should also note that while most global missions take a decade or more time to execute, ISRO wrapped up the plan in just 15 months' time. So, taking note of all the achievements and magnificent tasks of the scientists, they deserve a grand salute and a billion cheers.