India’s MOM spacecraft reaches Mars

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) probe successfully  entered into orbit around the Red Planet tonight. (See earlier post about the project.)  Launched on November 5th, 2013, the probe (also called Mangalyaan) needed to fire its engine for nearly 24 minutes to slow down sufficiently to be captured by Mars’ gravity.

The rocket and the spacecraft use Indian technology. Previously, only NASA, the European Space Agency,  and the former space program of the former Soviet Union succeeded in sending a spacecraft to Mars. And India is the first to succeed on its first try.

This follows by just two days the successful arrival of NASA’s MAVEN orbiter (see post here).

There are now five spacecraft (NASA’s Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and ESA’s Mars Express) in orbit around Mars and two rovers (Curiosity and Opportunity) in action on the surface of Mars.