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India space agency forced to delay first mission to Mars

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India space agency forced to delay first mission to Mars


India’s first mission to Mars has been delayed by around a week, it’s been confirmed.

The Indian Space Research Organisation said bad weather had caused the postponement of the rocket’s launch window.

It was originally scheduled between 28 October and 19 November.

The agency has sent two ships – fitted with devices to track the launch – to the South Pacific Ocean. But, due to bad weather, only one of them is in position.

A new date for the earliest potential launch date is expected to be confirmed on October 22.

The main aim of the mission is to establish if India’s space technology is capable of interplanetary journeys.

It will also collect scientific data from Mars’ surface.

If the Indians are successful they will become only the fourth space agency – after the US, Europe and Russia – to send a spacecraft to Mars.

It will also give the country’s pride a shot in the arm and see them beat China to the red planet.

China aborted an attempt to send a spacecraft to Mars in 2011, prompting India to fast-track its mission, preparing it in just 15 months.

India sent a probe to the Moon in 2008, at a cost of £55 million (€65m). The Mars mission is expected to cost £60m (€70m).

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