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Reaching for the stars through ‘Mangalyaan’

At the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) being made at France the world’s largest refrigerator is being made by India, a truly `make in India’ initiative. Credit: ITER

Pallava Bagla

The success of India’s maiden mission to Mars is hailed as a global landmark as it paves the way for cheap and reliable inter-planetary travel, this has been possible only because of a robust high technology infrastructure that has been put in place by the country. The same is also true in the sector of atomic energy where India’s prowess is slowly being recognized so much so that in the world’s only fusion energy reactor being constructed in France, India is a full member. Today, the country’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) truly symbolizes `Make in India’.

Speaking at the `Make in India’ workshop on Dec. 29, 2014 Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “Human Resource Development, Innovation and Research should become part of the government’s DNA.” He said these should be aligned to the nation’s overall goals in various sectors. Modi called upon all sectors of manufacturing in India to take inspiration from the “Space” sector, and the achievements of India’s space scientists.

On his recent visit to New York where the Prime Minister had the crowd in raptures as he repeatedly brought up India’s success of reaching Mars. Modi said; “Everything about Mangalyaan is indigenous,… made in small factories. We reached Mars at a smaller budget than a Hollywood movie.” He added “India is the only country to reach Mars on its first attempt. If this is not talent, then what is?’

Not many know that the darling of the masses, Mangalyaan is truly also the flag bearer for Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign where he is pitching for India becoming the hub for making ‘satellites to submarines’. India Incorporated a website dedicated to promoting India’s strengths highlighted that ‘some 40 industries are directly involved in the making of the spacecraft itself that was put together by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). From small firms like Sangvi Aerospace Pvt Limited from Ahmedabad that supplied the wires and cables to giants like L&T and Godrej, to Technocom in Rajkot which helped with the camera that gave MOM its first view of Mars. All truly symbolize the humble ‘Made in India’ tag that Mangalyaan carries.

India’s highly successful maiden mission to Mars, is the cheapest inter-planetary mission till date costing less than $ 75 million and truly a remarkable example of `make in India’. Seen here is the lift off the Mangalyaan on November 5, 2013 using the indigenously made Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) sent into space from India’s spaceport at Sriharikota on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. Credit: ISRO)

“Space is the last frontier so push and push some more” was part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pitch to India space scientists when he came to the partake in the joys and sorrows of the small 16,000 strong space community that made India proud by hitting bull’s eye in the very first attempt of reaching planet Mars. Acknowledging India’s achievement NASA Administrator Charles Bolden called it “an impressive engineering feat.” Another 100 or so industries are directly involved with the making of the rocket that launched MOM into space on Nov. 5, 2013.


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