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article imageIndia launches spacecraft to Mars

By Mike White     Nov 5, 2013 in Science
In an attempt to become the fourth country to reach the Red Planet, India has successfully launched a spaceship to Mars. The spaceship left at 9:08 GMT Tuesday.
The BBC reported the leader of India's space agency said the mission will prove the country has the technological capability to reach Mars orbit and complete experiments. The spaceship is designed to reach the Red Planet in 2014, in 300 days.
If the spaceship successfully orbits Mars, India will be the fourth in the world to complete such a mission. The others were the United States, Russia and the European Union.
CBS reported Indian space agency officials called the launch a "textbook launch."
"Capturing and igniting the young minds of India and across the globe will be the major return from this mission," mission director P. Kunhikrishnan commented.
The orbiter separated from the rocket 44 minutes into the mission. It then began an elliptical path around Earth. During the next 20-25 days, a variety of technical maneuvers and short burns will be performed. These will raise the orbit of the spaceship before it heads toward Mars.
"With teamwork and the kind of dedication we have today, any mission is not beyond our capability," S. Ramakrishnan, head of the space center, commented.
The 3,000-pound orbiter Mangalyaan, will attempt to travel 485 million miles in the next 300 days to begin its orbit around Mars next September. Mangalyaan means "Mars craft" in Hindi, the most prominent language in India.
"The biggest challenge will be precisely navigating the spacecraft to Mars," K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space and Research Organization explained. "We will know if we pass our examination on September 24, 2014."
According to upi.com, the space mission cost India less than $75 million.
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