India's ambitious but frugal spacecraft Mangalyaan (मंगलयान), the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), has been successfully launched into Earth orbit by the Indian Space Research Organisation. The mission is a "technology demonstrator" project to develop the technologies for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission. The mission, accomplished at a mere Re. 450 Crore (one-tenth of equivalent NASA missions), is a global model for low-cost space launches involving frugal engineering. The mission aims at establishing the country's capability to reach the Red Planet and look for the presence of methane, an indicator of life, on the Mars.
Image Courstey: NDTV.Com
The probe lifted off from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket C25 at 2:39 PM IST. This is India's first interplanetary mission and if it turns out to be successful, ISRO would be the fourth space agency and the first Asian agency to have a successful Mars mission. Success rate for earlier Mars missions has been pretty low.
The probe is currently in the Earth orbit where it will make a series of six altitude-raising orbital maneuvers before an insertion into a heliocentric Mars transfer orbit later in November 2013.