India’s maiden mission to Mars has traversed beyond the sphere of influence (SOI) of Earth extending about 9,25,000 km in its 10-month long voyage to the red planet.

The spacecraft crossed the SOI of Earth at around 1:14 hrs (IST) today, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.

The Mars orbiter spacecraft had slung out of its earth-bound orbit in the early hours of December one during the critical 22-minute Trans Mars Injection, a manoeuvre billed as the "mother of all slingshots".

The spacecraft which was in a hyperbolic orbit had escaped from the SOI, after the first step on Sunday in the Mars mission’s 680 million-km-long odyssey to its destination to put on course the country’s first ever inter-planetary space rendezvous.

ISRO has planned four mid-course corrections — around December 11, in April, August and on September 14 — in case of any deviation along its path to the Martian orbit before its expected arrival in the orbit of the Red planet in September 2014.

The spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Spacecraft Control Centre at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennae at Byalalu here.

The Mars mission’s success would catapult India into a small club, which included the US, Europe and Russia, whose probes have orbited or landed on Mars.

ISRO’s workhorse ISRO’s PSLV C-25 had successfully injected the 1,350-kg 'Mangalyaan' Orbiter into the orbit around the earth in a textbook launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on November five.

(This article was published on December 4, 2013)
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