Zee Media Bureau/Philaso G Kaping
Sriharikota: India has launched its first mission to Mars on Tuesday at 02:38pm (0908 GMT) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre here in Andhra Pradesh.
The spacecraft was carried onboard the indigenous PSLV-C25 rocket which injected it into Earth`s orbit after 40 minutes from lift-off.
The 350-tonne launch vehicle will orbit earth for nearly a month before picking up the necessary velocity to break free from Earth’s gravitational pull.
The Rs 430-crore project, informally known as "Mangalyaan", was approved on 3 August, 2012 and the Indian Space Research Organisation immediately jumped into action to create India’s first interplanetary spacecraft.
"I am extremely happy to announce PSLV-C25 placed Mars Orbiter spacecraft very precisely in elliptical orbit around Earth. Now it will be a complex mission to take the Mars Orbiter from the Earth`s orbit to Mars orbit," K Radhakrishnan, ISRO chairman, said.
The Bangalore-based organisation and its 16,000 staff also share their rocket technology with the state-run defence body responsible for India`s rapidly evolving missile programme.
So far only three other space agencies including United States’ NASA, Russia’s Roscosmos and the Europe’s space agency have achieved the feat of reaching Earth’s closest neighbour.
Some of the objectives of the mission are to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission and also to study the Martian surface and atmosphere using indigenous scientific instruments.
NASA, which will launch its own probe to study Mars on November 18, is helping ISRO with communications.
The spacecraft is expected to reach Mars` orbit on September 14, 2014.