Indian Successfully Launches First Mission to Mars ‘Mangalyaan’
India successfully launches first mission to Mars ‘Mangalyaan’ - (Courtest - DD)

India has successfully launched its first-ever mission to Mars, dubbed as Mangalyaan, from the Sriharikota spaceport off the southern coast in the Bay of Bengal.

The 1,340kg Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) has successfully separated from the 350-tonne PSLV-C25 rocket following the lift-off. The first phase of the launch has been completed without any glitches.

The spacecraft will travel almost a year and 780 million km before reaching the red planet.

The orbiter will commence its Mars voyage on 1 December after circling earth for three or four weeks in an elliptical orbit (perigee of 250 km and apogee of 23,500 km). It is slated to enter the Mars orbit on 24 September, 2014.

Mangalyaan, meaning "Mars Craft" in Hindi, makes India the fourth country to launch a Mars mission following the US, Russia and Europe.

The rocket has begun coasting towards an earth orbit following the lift-off.

Officials at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have said the launch has been successful and is on expected lines. All systems in the rocket are said to be working fine.

"I want to salute the entire ISRO community who made it possible in such a short time," said chairman of ISRO K Radhakrishnan.

The $73m-mission took 15 months to complete and the successful launch is widely seen as marking India's entry into the space race among Asian countries including China, Japan and South Korea.