India's Mangalyaan spacecraft has entered orbit around Mars. The triumph puts the country among an elite group of Martian explorers.
Scientists at the The Indian Space and Research Organization (ISRO) command center cheered on Wednesday as the space probe reached its final destination in orbit around Mars. It's India's first attempt to tackle such a project.
The $74 million (58 million euros) Mars Orbiter Mission, or MOM, puts India alongside fellow red planet explorers the United States, the European Space Agency and the former Soviet Union.
The Indian Space and Research Organization (ISRO) uploaded the commands to fire up the spacecraft's main engine at 7:17 a.m. (0147 UTC) for 24 minutes to slow it down enough to enter Mars orbit.
Newly-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in at the ISRO command center in Bangalore to observe the historic feat for India's five-decade-old space program.
"Congratuationals to all, to the entire country… history has been created today," Modi said.
"We have gone beyond the boundaries of human enterprise and innovation," he added. "We have navigated our craft through a route known to very few."
Mangalyaan, which means Mars craft in Hindi, arrived at the sphere of Mars' gravitational pull on Monday after traveling some 780 million kilometers (485 million miles) over 300 days.
One of the mission's aims is to search for the presence of methane gas in the planet's atmosphere, which could indicate the potential for primitive life forms to exist. MOM will circle Mars for at least six months.
More than half of the world's past attempts to reach Mars - 23 out of 41 - have failed. The US first had a successful flyby in 1964 with the Mariner 4. The Soviets reached the planet in 1971, and the European Space Agency in 2003. A japanese attempt in 1999 was unsuccessful.
dr/crh (dpa, AP, Reuters, AFP)