India launches mission to mars

India launches mission to mars

India has launched its first spacecraft bound for Mars, a complex mission which it hopes will demonstrate and advance technologies for space travel.

Hundreds of people watched as the rocket streaked across the sky from an eastern island today.

The 1,350kg Mangalyaan orbiter will first head into an elliptical orbit around Earth. Then it will perform a series of technical manoeuvres and short burns to raise its orbit before it slingshots toward Mars.

Mangalyaan must travel 780 million km over 300 days to reach an orbit around the red planet next September.

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