Map: Follow the course of Phobos-Grunt
Russia's Phobos-Grunt probe to Mars launched on a Zenit rocket at 2016 GMT (3:16 p.m. EST) Tuesday, but it will take five hours to propel the 29,000-pound spacecraft out of low Earth orbit and on a trajectory toward the Red Planet.
A propulsion unit attached to the spacecraft will fire twice to inject Phobos-Grunt on a course for Mars, then the rocket pack will stay attacked to tweak its trajectory and for a braking burn to enter orbit at Mars in October 2012.
The mission's rocket system is based on the Fregat upper stage used to place satellites in high-altitude orbits above Earth. It was modified for this interplanetary mission.
Both burns of the propulsion unit occur over South America out of range of ground stations in Russia. The bold black and red lines indicate the locations of the orbit-raising and Earth escape burns, which could be visible to observers in South America.
Check out our timeline of the launch sequence.