India’s first spacecraft put into Mars orbit

India yesterday created history by successfully placing its spacecraft into the orbit around Mars on its maiden attempt.

With this, India became the first Asian country and the fourth in the world to put its spacecraft into the red planet’s orbit.

Only the US, Russia and Europe have previously sent missions to Mars, and India has succeeded on its first attempt – an achievement that eluded even China and Japan.

The latest US satellite, Maven, arrived at Mars on Monday.

At 7.17 AM yesterday, the 440-Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) sizzled with life as it burnt along with the thrusters to slow down the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft, called “Mangalayan”, to be drawn into the orbit.

The spacecraft was released ten months ago from Sriharikota space centre on the coast of the Bay of Bengal in southern India.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the scientists at Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) in Bangalore over the success of the mission.

He said: “The moment this mission was named MOM, I knew it would not disappoint [us]. Moms never fail…”

“History has been created today. We have achieved the near impossible. I congratulate all the Isro scientists and all the other Indians on this historic achievement,” said Modi.

The PM said the Indian scientists, through their hard work and dedication, stretched the boundaries of human enterprise and imagination.

He described the Mars Orbiter Mission as an “indigenous pan-Indian effort”, stretching from Bangalore to Bhubaneswar, and Faridabad to Rajkot.

Asserting that the hunger for exploration and the thrill of discovery are not for the faint-hearted, Modi said he had chosen to be present at Isro yesterday, “unaware of the mission’s success or failure” and urged scientists to set even more challenging targets in future.

Saying the whole of India celebrates their cricket team’s victories, the prime minister described the success of the mission as “a thousand times bigger one”.

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee also congratulated Isro for the successful placing of “Mangalyaan” into the orbit around Mars.

He said: “The success has made India the first Asian country and Isro the fourth space agency to send a satellite to the red planet.”

“The nation is proud of this historic achievement which has demonstrated, yet again, India’s space capabilities.”

The Rs 459 crore Indian Mars exploration mission is considered the most cost-effective one in the world.

Source: The Daily Star

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