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Mangalyaan to enter Mars orbit on September 24

New Delhi, Sep 23 (): Indian scientists have successfully tested the Indian spacecraft Mangalyaan’s main engine on Monday and they performed a course correction that has put the low-cost project on track to enter orbit around the Red Planet.

The Indian Space Research Organization said its Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft, also known as MOM or Mangalyaan said the test-firing of the propulsion engine on Mangalyaan to Mars for four seconds went off smoothly, increasing the confidences of the engineers of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) about the performance of the engine on Wednesday when it will fire for 24 minutes to insert the Mars orbiter into the orbit of the planet Mars.

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s Facebook page said : “We had a perfect burn for four seconds as programmed. The trajectory has been corrected. MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission) will now go for the nominal plan for Mars Orbit Insertion”.

Late Sunday night, Sept. 21, 2014, NASA’s Maven spacecraft entered orbit around Mars for an unprecedented study of the red planet’s atmosphere following a 442 million-mile journey that began nearly a year ago.

Mangalyaan was launched last year in November. The $74-million mission will attempt to enter orbit around Mars early Wednesday. MOM’s budget is just one-ninth of Maven’s.

If the mission proves to be successful, India will become the first nation to enter into Mars orbit in its first attempt, pushing the country to an exclusive club of space race leaders. So far, the US, Russia and Europe have sent probes to the red planet and have successfully landed or orbited on the planet.

The purpose of Mangalyaan is to study the surface of Mars, its mineral composition and the spacecraft will also intend to scan the atmosphere of the red planet for methane, a chemical strongly tied to life on Earth.

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi will be present at the command centre of ISRO in Bengaluru on September 24 at 7.30 am to witness the last phase of the mission after the probe broke into Mars’ sphere of influence on Monday.

Mangalyaan cost roughly a tenth of NASA’s Mars mission Maven that successfully entered Mars orbit on Sunday.