India's Mangalyaan enters Mars orbit, makes history

Bangalore: India on Wednesday made history by becoming the first country in the world to successfully insert a spacecraft in the Martian orbit in its maiden attempt.

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A father and his son look at information about planet Mars on a poster put up at the Nehru Planetarium as a special preview on India's Mars Orbiter Mission, in Bangalore on September 23, 2014. Pic/ AFP

"The spacecraft (Orbiter) was successfully inserted into the Martian orbit at 515 km away from the red planet's surface and 215 million km away from the earth in radio distance," a senior space official told IANS at the mission's control centre here.

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The Mars orbit insertion began in the early hours at 4.17 a.m. when the spacecraft switched over to the medium gain antenna for emitting and receiving radio signals.

After rotating the Orbiter in the direction of Mars at 6.57 a.m., the main engine was ignited at 7.17 a.m. to enable the spacecraft enter the Martian orbit.

During the crucial operation, when an eclipse occurred on Mars from 7.12 a.m., the 440 Newton liquid apogee motor (LAM) of the main engine started burning at 7.30 a.m. and lasted for 24 minutes till 7.54 a.m. for inserting the spacecraft into the Martian orbit.

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"Radars at the four earth stations across the US, Europe, India and Australia received the signal confirming the successful insertion of the spacecraft into the Martian orbit," the official said.

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