Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday hailed the successful launch of Chandrayaan-I as the "first step" in a historic milestone in India's space programme.
Singh, who is on an official visit to Japan, called up G Madhavan Nair, Secretary, Department of Space and congratulated him and his team of scientists for the successful launch.
Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) warhorse rocket PSLV C-11 put Chandrayaan-I into the earth orbit at around 6:30 am on Wednesday.
"I congratulate all the scientists associated with this mission for the successful completion of the first step," the Prime Minister said.
Singh said when completed, the mission will put India in the very small group of six countries which have thus far sent space missions to the moon.
"The successful launch of the Chandrayaan-1 marks the first step in what we hope will be a historic milestone in India's space programme," he said.
The Prime Minister noted that all the launch vehicle systems performed satisfactorily and the spacecraft has been successfully placed in an orbit around the earth.
"This is the beginning of a two-week long effort in which our scientists will now manoeuvre the spacecraft into expanding orbits around the earth before finally shifting it to an orbit around the moon," he said.
"Our scientific community has once again done the country proud and the entire nation salutes them," the Prime Minister said.