India spacecraft crosses Moon orbit

2013-12-03 11:20
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India mission to Mars blasts off

India has sent its first vessel to Mars as the country aims to become the only Asian nation to reach the Red Planet. See pictures of the blast off here.

New Delhi - India's Mars-bound spacecraft has crossed the moon's orbit on its way to the red planet, space agency officials said on Tuesday.

"The Mangalyaan is now travelling beyond the moon into deep space, a distance of more than 536 000km," a senior Indian Space Research Organisation spokesperson, DP Karnik said.

"It is the first time that an Indian craft has been sent into deep space."

India's first inter-planetary mission comes five years after the country sent a probe to the moon. The craft was launched on 5 November and left Earth's orbit on Sunday on a 300-day voyage to Mars.

The space agency said the $80m mission was meant to demonstrate India's technological capabilities, both in reaching Mars and carrying out meaningful scientific research.

The craft carries a 25kg payload of instruments and imaging equipment that will study the atmosphere and surface of Mars. It will not land on the surface of the planet.
Read more on:    space
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