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Countdown begins for launch of India's first Mars mission
Posted: Sun, Nov 3, 2013, 12:47 PM ET (1747 GMT)
India Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft illus. (ISRO) The Indian space agency ISRO started the countdown Sunday of the launch Tuesday of that country's first Mars mission. The 56 hour, 30 minute countdown started early Sunday, leading up to a launch scheduled for 4:08 am EST (0908 GMT, 2:38 pm local time) Tuesday from the Satish Dhawan Space Center. A Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket will launch the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft and place it into an elliptical parking orbit around the Earth, after which the spacecraft's engine will fire several times, eventually placing it on a trajectory to Mars, arriving next September. MOM will operate in an elliptical orbit around Mars, studying the planet's surface and atmosphere.
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