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Four long hours and the Isro team

At 4 am this morning, scientists at the Isro Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) were anxious as to what would happen to their three-year old dream. Hundreds of space scientists and officials from across the offices of Isro gathered at ISTRAC were busy tracking the final movements of the Mars spacecraft – MOM.

At 4.17 am, when the spacecraft switched over to the medium gain antenna for receiving and emitting radio signals and when the main engine burn started around 7.17 am, they were relieved as they were assured of the mission’s success. 

Around 7 am, Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined scientists along with Karnataka Governor Vajubhhai Vala to witness the proceedings. Wearing a red jacket, Modi looked calm and keenly observed the developments.

Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah had arrived an hour ahead of prime minister and watched the proceedings. Also present on the occasion were Union ministers H N Ananth Kumar, D V Sadananda Gowda, former Isro chairman U R Rao and many other retired and serving scientists.

At 8.01 am, when the spacecraft (orbiter) successfully entered the Martian orbit with its payload about 515 km from its surface and 215 million km away from the earth in radio distance, scientists led by Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) Chairman K Radhakrishnan erupted in joy.

Modi too joined them and congratulated Radhakrishnan and each and every scientist involved in the Mars Mission. 

Congratulating the space scientists for their achievement, Modi said, “History has been created today by the Indian scientists reaching Mars in the very first attempt. India is the only and first country to have succeeded in the very first attempt,” he said.

Indian scientists, through their hard work and dedication, have stretched the boundaries of human enterprise and imagination, he said. 

Modi described the Mars Orbiter Mission as an indigenous pan-Indian effort, stretching from Bangalore to Bhubaneswar, and Faridabad to Rajkot.

“Hunger of exploration and the thrill of discovery are not for the faint hearted,” the PM said, adding that scientists should set even more challenging targets for themselves.

He said Modern India must continue playing its role of Jagadguru Bharat.

The success of the space programme is a shining symbol of what we are capable of as a nation, he added. 

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