India has become the first country in the world to succeed in placing a spacecraft in orbit around Mars in the maiden attempt.
This great inter-planetary mission was accomplished at 7.17 am when the Mars Orbiter Mission successfully entered the orbit of the red planet.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi, witnessed the most critical final moments at the command centre of Indian Space Research Organization in Bangalore.
He said the odds were stacked against them with only 21 out of the 51 missions to Mars being successful. He was elated that their mission prevailed.
At around 2.30 pm Monday, the Mars Orbiter Mission tested its last manoeuvre when its engine was fired for about 4 seconds.
The engine has been idle since December1, 2013 when the spacecraft left Earth’s orbit for its Martian trajectory. The test burn went as planned. It was to make sure that the engine was in good shape for the 24-minute manoeuvre today.
The Prime Minister congratulated the Indian space scientists and the Indian Space Research Organization Chairman K. Radhakrishnan for making space history.
India now becomes the first country in the world to go to Mars in the first attempt. American, European and Russian probes have managed to land or orbit on the planet but only after several attempts.
The insertion of the Mars Orbiter into the Mars orbit was carried out with a lot of precision. It was done automatically by commands loaded onto the spacecraft ensuring that its velocity was reduced from 22.1 km per second to 4.4 km per second so as to be captured by the Martian orbit.
Its signals took about 12 minutes to travel to Earth for reception by NASA’s Deep Space Network Stations in Canberra and Goldstone that relayed the data in real time to ISRO’s station in Bangalore.