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India has blasted off on its first mission to Mars as it bids to become the only Asian nation to reach the Red Planet. The rocket carrying the unmanned probe took off at 9.08am GMT from the Sriharikota spaceport, close to Chennai.
It entered orbit around Earth 44 minutes later, the country's space agency confirmed.
The gold-coloured probe, which weighs 1,350kg, is about the size of a small car and is being carried by a 350-ton rocket - much smaller than US or Russian equivalents.
It will orbit Earth for nearly a month, building up enough velocity to break free from its gravitational pull.
Only then will it begin the second stage of its nine-month journey which will test India's scientists to the full.
The Mars Orbiter Mission, known as Mangalyaan, was announced 15 months ago by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, shortly after a Chinese probe flopped when it failed to leave Earth's atmosphere.