The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Sunday successfully completed a critical operation of catapulting its Mars Orbiter spacecraft out of the Earth's sphere of influence and placing it on a transfer orbit in its onward journey towards Mars.
The critical manoeuvre to place the Mars Orbiter spacecraft on a trajectory towards the red planet, which began in the early hours of Sunday - at 00:49 am on 1 December – was completed in about half an hour, ISRO said in a release.
During this manoeuvre, the spacecraft's 440 Newton liquid engine was fired for about 22 minutes, raising its velocity by 648 meters per second.
Following the completion of this manoeuvre, the Earth orbiting phase of the spacecraft ended.
During the trans Mars orbital phase, the spacecraft will be revolving around the Sun, as it starts a 300-day voyage to reach the orbit of the red planet, after travelling roughly 680 million kilometers.
ISRO has planned for mid-course corrections in case of any deviation along its path to the Martian orbit.
ISRO first injected the 1,350-kg 'Mangalyaan' (Mars Orbiter craft) into the Earth's orbit using a PSLV C 25 rocket on 5 November.
The spacecraft started orbiting around the Earth some 44 minutes after a text book launch at 2.38 pm from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on 5 November, marking the successful completion of the first stage of the Rs450 crore mission.
Since then, ISRO had undertaken five successive orbit raising manoeuvres on the spacecraft.
The space agency is scheduled to make four corrections in the course of the spacecraft's voyage to Mars before it is expected to reach the orbit of the red planet in September 2014.
The spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Spacecraft Control Centre at ISRO's Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennae at Byalalu, the space agency said.