ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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ISRO's Mars Mission

The Indian Space Research Organisation's Mangalyaan mission is a remarkable success story. Over the last five decades of its existence, ISRO has notched up many successes and has played a key role in indigenous development of various technologies. Its various programmes are also outstanding examples of its ability to successfully perform complex technological and organisational feats. However, one has yet to see any specifi c spin-offs in the civilian domain of these fairly advanced technologies. Further, the gap between running a dedicated, focused technological mission and improving the general level of manufacturing competence and quality is huge. ISRO was earlier closely involved in the development of dual-use technologies, that involvement continues though the organisation has tended to downplay its role in military applications as it seeks to obtain a larger share of the global civilian space market.

“MOM never disappoints” was how Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the scientists of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) at the successful insertion of the maiden Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) into the Martian orbit. At 07.47 IST, the spacecraft Mangalyaan started orbiting the Red Planet and 12 minutes later, the signal was received at the ISRO’s Mission Control Centre.

It is a remarkable achievement by any standard. With this success, India joins the elite club of three (Russia, the United States and the European Space Agency) that has put a spacecraft into Martian orbit. What is noteworthy is that India has been able to do so in its first attempt and at a fraction of the cost of earlier missions by other nations. The total cost of the mission is about Rs 450 crore ($75 million). To put this in perspective, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission of US’s NASA which beat Mangalyaan by three days to reach Mars cost around $700 million.

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