Big launch, what next?

Big launch, what next?

By Prof K Nageshwar | THE HANS INDIA |   Feb 16,2017 , 02:43 AM IST

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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) made us proud with its launch of 104 satellites in a single mission to create a world record. Seeking a bigger share of the $300 billion global space industry, the launch included over 100 foreign satellites catering to ISRO’s international customers. As ISRO creates history, the nation looks at it with greater expectations for the future.  

Close on the heels of low-cost mission that sent a probe to orbit Mars three years ago which succeeded at the first attempt, ISRO plans for two interplanetary missions. This remarkable launch makes the nation bullish over the ensuing mission to Mars and Venus Modi government deserves praise for giving the department of space a 23 percent hike in the recent budget.

The higher financial allocations would enable ISRO to take up Mars Orbiter mission -2 and a mission to yet another Earth’s immediate neighbour, Venus.  The first mission to Mars undertaken by ISRO in 2013 was essentially a technology demonstrator while the second mission aims at putting a rover on the Red Planet. 

These inter planetary missions are an epitome of international cooperation and India’s global standing in the space market. The United States Moon Mineralogy Mapper aboard India’s Chandrayaan -1 has conclusively established presence of water on Moon. The French Space Agency wants to collaborate in making the Mars rover.  The NASA is also interested in collaborating with India in the second Mars Mission.  All this further reinforces India’s presence in the galaxy of global space powers. 

As human beings explore another planet to live in, Mars and Venus prove to be promising due to their proximity and relative similarity with our planet. Despite several international missions to it, the Red Planet still remains largely elusive. It’s really satisfying to note that India is a partner in the global exploration to unravel the mysteries of universe.

The New York Times published a cartoon that showed an Indian villager with a cow knocking at the door of a room marked Elite Space Club. The cartoon mocked India Mangalyaan mission. Now, NASA showing interest in partnering with India in its second Mars mission is a befitting reply to hegemonic voices emanating from the Western shores.  

Low costs make India’s space launches globally competitive. It helps India to penetrate into the lucrative and highly competitive world space market dominated by the advanced countries. For instance, Mangalyaan mission cost India $74 million while the NASA Mars programme cost it $671 million. This prompted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to rightly remark that India had spent less to reach Mars than Hollywood spent on a mere movie on space mission, Gravity, which cost $100 million. 

India has emerged as a true global space power as it mastered a wide array of space products and services. They include satellite development and launch vehicle technology and space applications. From a modest beginning in 1960s, Indian Space registered a mind boggling progress. Besides using space technology to the developmental needs, India could firmly enter global space market. With the new missions, India would also establish its credentials as a major contributor to the unbelievable space exploration. 
 

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