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India's spacecraft journeys to Mars

(Image: Indian Space Research Organization; www.isro.org)

(Image: Indian Space Research Organization; www.isro.org)

Digital writers

Sunday, December 1, 2013, 4:43 PM -

India's Mars orbiter mission successfully left Earth's sphere of influence early Sunday after performing a manoeuvr to put it on its way to orbit the red planet -- a critical step in what's being called a major milestone for the country. 

The spacecraft fired its main engine for more than 20 minutes to reach the correct velocity to leave the Earth's orbit, the Bangalore-based Indian Space Research Organization said.

"The Earth orbiting phase of the spacecraft ended. The spacecraft is now on a course to encounter Mars after a journey of about 10 months around the sun,'' the statement said."

It said that all systems onboard the spacecraft are performing normally. 

India launched its first spacecraft bound for Mars on November 5, a complex mission that it hopes will demonstrate and advance technologies for space travel. 

If the mission is successful, India will become only the fourth space program to visit the red planet after the Soviet Union, the United States and Europe. 

With files from The Associated Press 

Learn more on India's mission to Mars on their Facebook page or visit www.isro.org.

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