BANGALORE, Sept 24 � India today created space history by successfully placing its low-cost Mars spacecraft in orbit around the Red Planet in its very first attempt, catapulting the country into an elite club of three nations, reports PTI.
Watched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ISRO scientists successfully ignited the main 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) and eight small thrusters that fired for 24-minutes from 7.17 am and slowed down the speed of the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft �Mangalyaan� for it to slip into a smooth orbit around the Red Planet after almost an year-long voyage.
�Today MOM has met Mangal (Mars). Today Mangal has got MOM. The time this mission was short named as MOM, I was sure that MOM won�t disappoint us,� Modi, who wore a red jacket, said annnouncing the Rs 450-crore mission�s success, after nerve-wracking final moments at the command centre of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) here.
Scientists broke into wild cheers and congratulated each other after the 1,350kg spacecraft was manoeuvred into its designated place, capping a 666-million km journey that began on November 5 last.
With the success of �Mangalyaan�, India has become the first country to go to Mars in the very first try. European, American and Russian probes have managed to orbit or land on the planet, but after several attempts. The first Chinese mission to Mars, called Yinghuo-1, failed in 2011. Earlier in 1998, the Japanese mission ran out of fuel and was lost.
Modi, who witnessed the operation along with the space scientists, said the odds were stacked against �us with only 21 of the 51 missions to Mars being successful�, but �we have prevailed�.
�Our scientists have achieved this in the first attempt. This is first time in the world. History has been created today. We have dared to reach out into the unknown and have achieved near impossible.
�We have gone beyond the boundaries of human enterprise and innovation. We have navigated our craft through a route known to very few,� Modi said in a speech in Hindi and English, congratulating the scientists and �all my fellow Indians on this historic occasion�.
An elated Prime Minister patted the back of ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan and complimented the Indian space scientists for making space history.
�I have said it in the past too, the amount our scientists have spent on this mission is even less than what they spend in making Hollywood movies,� he said in his address to the mission scientists.