India's Mars mission
India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25), carrying Mars orbiter, blasts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota (Reuters)

India's prestigious mission to Mars, which was successfully launched last week, hit its first obstacle late on Sunday when the satellite was not able to raise its orbit by 100,000 km.

The Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) had pushed the orbiter higher in space towards Mars on Saturday, from 31,450 km (at farthest point from Earth) to 71,636 km. The organisation tried to raise the satellite further by the required distance as per the planned trajectory, but it was unable to do so for a while.

It was a fourth such maneuver for the launch vehicle, which is meant to orbit the Earth for nearly a month before building enough velocity to break free from the planet's gravitational pull.

The Mangalyaan was raised from 11,372 km to 40186 km on 8 November and the first orbit was raised from 5,275 km apogee to 28,82,5 km on 7 November.

After the fifth such orbit raising manoeuvre in November, the final manoeuvre in December will place the Orbiter on Mars Transfer Trajectory.

The 350-tonne PSLV-C25 was blasted off on 5 November from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The unmanned mission was announced 15 months ago. It is India's first attempt to explore the Red Planet and the nation made headlines all over the world for being the fourth country to successfully launch the Mangalyaan.

The ₹450-crore mission will aim to discover methane in the Martian atmosphere. ISRO said that one of the main objectives of the Mangalyaan is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.