India’s mission to Mars orbit successful in first attempt

World Today

India celebrated putting a spacecraft into orbit around Mars on Wednesday. CCTV America’s Shweta Baja reports from New Delhi.

Everyone including India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was waiting with a baited breath as India started its final maneuver into the Martian orbit. After 24 minutes of a nail biting wait, there were loud cheers as India succeeded in its first attempt to enter Mars’ orbit.

India’s Mars orbiter mission named the Mangalyaan or Mars Craft in Sanskrit, cost the country $74 million. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration meanwhile had pumped $671 million into its mission, or almost nine times of what the Indian Space Research Organization paid.

India's mission to Mars successful in first attempt

India has successfully launched its first, also the world's first Mars Orbit Mission. CCTV America's Shweta Baja reports from New Delhi.

India joined an elite club when it successfully guided its Mars Orbiter Mission, affectionately called MOM, into orbit around the red planet Wednesday morning. Only the U.S., former Soviet Union and European Space Agency have been able to do that before.

In scenes broadcast live on TV, scientists at the Indian Space and Research Organisation’s command center in Bangalore erupted into cheers as orbiter’s engines completed 24 minutes of burn time to maneuver the spacecraft into place. MOM had traveled some 666 million kilometers (414 million miles) and more than 300 days since breaking from Earth’s gravitational pull.

“Our scientists have achieved this in the first attempt,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said from the command center. “We have dared to reach out into the unknown and have achieved near impossible.”

India was particularly proud that MOM was developed with homegrown technology and for a bargain price of about $75 million — a cost that Modi quipped was lower than many Hollywood movie budgets. NASA’s much larger Maven mission, whose satellite went into orbit around Mars on Sunday, cost nearly 10 times as much, at $671 million.

Report compiled with information from The Associated Press.