Six years after its preparations first began, India has launched its first ever mission to Mars.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh formally announced India’s plans last year, and lift-off for the Mars Orbiter Mission finally happened a little after 2.30pm (IST) local time in Sriharikota, a barrier island off the coast of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Following an elliptical orbit around Earth, it will finally make its way to the Red Planet on November 30, taking 300 days to reach Mars. If successful, India will become the fourth space agency in the world after US, Russia and Europe to make the journey.

India launches spacecraft to Mars