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India has successfully put a satellite into orbit around Mars on its first attempt.

The Mangalyaan robotic probe arrived in orbit early on Wednesday following a 10-month journey from Earth.

A 24-minute engine burn slowed the probe down enough to allow it to be captured by Mars’ gravity.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was at the mission control center in the southern city of Bangalore, said India had achieved the “near impossible.”

“The odds were stacked against us. Of 51 missions attempted…only 21 have succeeded. We have prevailed,” he said.

Only the US, Europe and Russia have previously sent missions to Mars. The latest US satellite, Maven, arrived at Mars on Monday.

At US$74 million, this Mars mission is also the cheapest, ever. Prime Minister, Modi, joked earlier this year that the launch of this deep space probe cost less than the budget of the Hollywood film, ‘Gravity.’

Alexandra Bruce

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