India: Aiming the deep Space !!


Explained by: Parveen Kaswan ( Author is an Aerospace Engineer and holds a Masters Degree in Engineering Designs from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore )

It is said that, Indians were first to talk about ‘average fuel consumption’ of even luxury cars like Mercedes when they were launched in the Indian market, which world followed subsequently. Now they took this race in sphere of interplanetary journey also. The testimony to this is latest ‘Mars Mission’ of India which just added a new orbiting buddy around Mars in its very maiden flight at record amount of $75 million.

The flight of Mars Mission, which put an Orbiter in its yearned orbit, was an unpleasant check for India. After this success, scientific aspirations and capabilities of India’s space programme will boost immensely. India characteristics a long annals of technical accomplishment, whether it’s the case of Moon Mission, a robust Atomic programme, development of Intercontinental Ballistic missiles and now Mars Mission. The borrowing for these achievements, in space and atomic field, goes to its home developed and talented scientific pool. The success of such programmes are very crucial in further boosting the confidence of younger generation, which is very important as India is now witnessing favorable demographic dividend. 

Launch Station

India placed Rohini satellite in its orbit in 1980 by the first Indian-made launch vehicle, Space Launch Vehicle-3. In subsequent years Indian Space Research Organization has evolved two other major launch vehicles, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) for launching satellites into polar orbits and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) for placing satellites into geostationary orbits. For launching heavy satellite it had to look towards other space agencies which was costing it hugely. Now after mastering the cryogenic technology India is capable of launching heavy sattelites also. A landmark was achieved when PSLV, the workhorse of Indian space programme, launched five foreign satellites in June, 2014. It demonstrated the increasing capabilities and clout of India in arena of worldwide space programmes.

This insertion of Mars orbiter in its planned orbit is a foremost accomplishment by every standard, as it needs developing a very complex expertise. Though every project is with its own specific and set objectives which make it non-comparable with others, but if we look at major interplanetary missions this is quite an extra-ordinary feat. India accomplished it brilliantly and particularly on diminutive allowance (75 million dollar) as contrasted to such projects of other countries.

This mission has two set of objectives: a)Technological Objectives – to demonstrate the capabilities of India in terms of planning, designing and executing various cutting edge processes and technologies involved in a complex interplanetary mission like this, b)Scientific Objectives – exploration of Mars atmosphere with various on board instruments on the orbiter. Mars Orbiter Mission is a foremost technological accomplishment by every standard, as all required expertise are developed by ISRO in record time.

The significance of various communication, climate forecasting and spy satellites and the role performed by space programmes in socioeconomic and technological development is huge in present scenario. After the thriving success of Mars Mission, it will help India in projecting itself in worldwide market as a provider of viable and cost productive satellite launch facilities and space applications to other countries. The countries in East Asia, Central Asia and Africa will look toward India as a dependable partner for providing space launch amenities. This simply means now onwards India will be vying to have a larger share in this market which is currently projected at $300 billion. The propulsion, communication and management expertise utilised in this mission will further energise the future space programmes including Chandrayaan-2.

The achievements are not without contradictory significances, as it might outcomes in a space race in Asia where already two major powers – Japan & China – are investing very strongly in space programmes and associated research. China is currently tapping the potential Asian market by supplying discounted satellite services and furthermore planning for a Manned Moon Mission. China seems to have caught the plot and India let it go. A fracture in internal politics coupled with a non-functioning government has led to heavy losses on the foreign affairs front. China has taken complete advantage of the situation and outclassed India, which can be seen by its engagement with Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh etc in space applications through its state owned company China Great Wall Industrial Corporation (CGWIC). Now here is a new government at helm, with new energy, which seems to project India on all fronts. Recent Indian space missions are also glimpsed as competitive in nature by international analysts, which was denied by both the nations. There are broader significances of this position vis-a-vis other global space powers like US and Russia, which are taking a keen interest in these expansions.

India should not confine the “Lookeast Policy” to just trading but it should also allow the exchange of technology as well. It must also extend collaboration to countries in its ‘extended neighbourhood’. A growth in space interests by the smaller countries must be seen as an opportunity for India to pledge its space resources. India Space Research Organisation(ISRO) must build cheap technology and provide professional training to the work force for further engagement. An aggressive initiative in this regard will really help India regain past relations with its neighbours. In return by providing high-end technical space services to these small countries ISRO will expand its arms to the new horizons and it can generate revenue for the organization for further expansion.

India must spear head groups such as the one China leads, i.e  Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) ) to raise the standard of technology for its partnering nations as well as provide a stronger voice to its contention to being recognized as a military and economic super power. The main aim of extending the deals is not to be better than any other country but to be better ourselves and to expand ourselves worldwide.

India has come so far even when many crucial technologies were denied to it by advanced countries in the name of sanctions with possible strategic warfare applications. It displays the ineffectiveness of international sanctions against a country which invests its resources and scientific talent in innovation and development. International powers cannot monopolize these crucial technologies if countries with good economic base allocate resources in research and institution building. India now truly aiming the deep space – not only in terms of future space expeditions but also in terms of the fast emerging space market on Earth. As we have seen how electronics manufacturing & chip manufacturing has moved to east Asia because of its competitive advantages over Europe and US, it will not be a surprise if satellite launching market proceeds to East, particularly India.



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