The spacecraft, called Mangalyaan, was launched in November last year.
The project has been embraced by new Prime Minister Narendra Modi who aims to establish India as a bigger player in the more than $300 billion space technology market, even as neighboring China gives stiff competition with its bigger launchers.
Modi will sit next to scientists at ISRO’s command center in the city of Bangalore on Wednesday during the last phase of the mission, the space agency’s scientific secretary V. Koteswara Rao told Reuters.
Rao said a group of about 100 scientists celebrated when the communication signals from craft, that take 12 minutes to reach Earth, showed the engine test was successful.
“It was a joyous moment,” Rao said.
Success would make India the fourth space power after the United States, Europe and Russia to orbit or land on the red planet.