thequint.com May 30, 2016
India Marches Ahead With Space Plans
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is reportedly going to launch a yet unseen number of satellites into orbit in June, apart from having tested a reusable miniature space rocket this week that was indigenously developed. The technology for developing a fully fledged reusable rocket could still take 10 years, however India's successful testing of the miniature version was an indicator of the country's foray in making space exploration an affordable and easy mission. The recently launched space rocket measured 6.5 meter in length and weighed 1.75 tons.
India's space program has seen some important technological breakthroughs which have simultaneously been cost effective, in spite of the country being a late entrant in the space race. However, the country's recent spate of space projects is quickly propelling it forward as far as space ambitions go. India grabbed worldwide attention when it successfully sent an unmanned Mars orbiter to the red planet in 2014. The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called Mangalyaan, was successful in the first attempt and that on a shoestring budget of $73 million, compared to the $670 associated with the US Maven Mars Mission. "There is a bit of status and kind of pride associated with some of these programs. Some of the key technology demonstrations will gain India a seat at the high table," said Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, head of Nuclear and Space Policy.
After its successful Mars mission, the country is working on sending a mission to the Moon next year to study the lunar surface, and has long term plans of sending an astronaut to space, on a manned mission. In addition, India's space plans also incorporate developing an indigenous navigation satellite system, which will elevate the country's rank to the fifth position in the development of such a technology. Furthermore, India is also looking at future defense applications of its space program according to a report.