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India launches rocket to Mars

India has launched an unmanned rocket to Mars this morning on its first mission to the planet. The spacecraft will travel for 300 days and reach Mars orbit in September 2014.

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India using low-cost technology for Mars mission

India has successfully launches its first rocket to Mars, aiming to put a satellite in orbit around the planet at a lower cost than previous missions, thus potentially positioning the nation as a budget player in the global space race.

The mission is considerably cheaper than previous missions by the United States, Europe and Russia. Costing 4.5 billion rupees - (or approximately just £45.7 million) it is a fraction of the cost of an average NASA satellite mission.

However the mission has attracted criticism due to the high levels of poverty, malnutrition and power shortages suffered by millions across the country.

The UK currently gives India £280 million a year in financial aid, but this will end in 2015.

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