India Launches First Mission to Mars

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

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

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

The 1,350-kilogram (3,000-pound) Mangalyaan orbiter is headed first into an elliptical orbit around Earth. Then it is to perform a series of technical maneuvers and short burns to raise its orbit before it slingshots toward Mars.

Mangalyaan must travel 780 million kilometers (485 million miles) over 300 days to reach an orbit around the red planet next September.

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