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India’s Mars orbiter dies after 6-month mission lasts eight years

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India’s mission to — an orbiter studying the surface and atmosphere — finally ran out of fuel after spending eight years in the outer world, according to the nation’s space agency.

The device, launched in 2013, was expected to last just six months — demonstrating India’s technological prowess on a frugal budget, the Indian Space Research Organization said in a statement Monday. A long eclipse led to the orbiter losing contact with the ground station in April.

It ran out of fuel and couldn’t achieve the necessary altitude to generate power, the agency said, declaring the spacecraft “non-recoverable.”

The orbiter, called Mangalyaan in Sanskrit, made India only the fourth nation to reach the distant planet. It garnered global attention primarily for its shoestring budget — the probe cost about $74 million, just 11% of the price tag for NASA’s Maven probe, and tens of millions less than the $108 million 20th Century Fox spent making The Martian.

India’s Orbiter Mission has ended with an irrecoverable loss of contact.

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