India just cemented its place as a space power and put NASA’s billions to shame, with the news that its $US74 million space probe just entered Mars orbit.
The orbiter, dubbed Mangalyaan, dropped into orbit following a burn at 10.30 EST (12.30am AEST), making India the first country to successfully reach Mars orbit on the first try. Actually, the history of Mars missions makes for pretty sobering reading: the first three attempts failed to even reach Earth orbit, and it took until Mariner 9 for the USA and NASA to get a probe into successful orbit without anything accidentally blowing up.
By contrast, Mangalyaan has been run on a shoestring budget — just $US74 million — and managed to reach orbit first time round. For a full list of updates, you can follow the Indian Space Research Organisation’s page here. [ISRO]