2008: A Space Odyssey

WOW! I have never felt so much pride in being an Indian while writing a post. The feeling I have is shared by millions of Indians around the globe.

India’s maiden mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-I was launched successfully from Srijarikota today. The PSLV-C11 rocket was fired at exactly 0622 IST (0052 UTC).

Chandrayaan was blasted into space by highly reliable 4 stage PSLV-C11 rocket. The space craft carries 11 scientific instruments, 5 Indian and 6 foreign which will make a detailed 3D map of lunar surface as well as look for presence of water,minerals and a rare isotope Helium-3 which could be the answer to the ever increasing energy needs of our planet. It will make the most detailed maps of moon.

Soon after PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch vehicle) successfully placed Chandrayaan-I into the orbit around the earth, all the scientists who worked non-stop exulted in joy,thumping their chests with pride and congratulated each other. The whole nation was doing the same and salutes its true heroes. ISRO chief  G Madhavan Nair said “This is a historic moment for India. We’ve started our journey to the moon and and the first leg of the journey has gone remarkably well”.

Chandrayaan-I will take another 5 and a half days to reach the moon where it will orbit it for 2 years and send valuable data. It will also send a “Moon impactor” probe to the surface of the moon which will evaluate the surface of the moon. This probe is painted with Indian tri color, so if this probe reaches the surface safely, India will only be the fourth country to place their national flag on the lunar surface. Earlier US, Russia, Japan have achieved this feat. India has also joined US, China, japan, ESA, Russia in the list of countries/agencies capable of sending missions to moon.

Chandrayaan-I’s cost is $83 million, much more cost efficient than any other nation.

But even this appears sore to some eyes. There are a few negative arguements as well:

1. Some people are talking whether the space mission was at all required in a poverty ridden country like India where billions live below poverty line? For non-Indians giving this arguement, weell, you have half (not full because your reason does not purely sound a result of jealousy and you show your concern for the poor. What have you/your nation done to help the poor BTW) my middle finger as an answer. If you are an Indian thinking the same,read on the next para.

Well, first things first, it is because of Indian scientists we have been able to achieve this goal. Had it been in control of our politicians, rest assured, we would have gone no where. Agreed,that this mission was approved by government,but this mission could have been achieved much earlier also. Our scientists have the will power, skills and intelligence to power a challenging mission like this and beyond (manned missions). It is also true that our leaders have to heavily debate every project as India is a democracy. But, i doubt that if the space endeavours are cancelled, the money alloted to them will bring any good to the poor in the country.Thanks to our politicians.They are just too currupt and greedy.Heck most of the money alloted to MP’s and MLA’s for improving their constituency goes whoosh. Also, the project has long term advantages.It has exploration of Helium-3 as one of its objectives which could help India satisfy its energy needs in the future. If we had not started with Aryabhatta back in 1975, we would not have been where we stand today. If we had thought Aryabhatta will do us no good and lets get rid of poverty first, we would have been light years behind other countries. Because of those small initial steps, we today in space have an array of remote sensing,educational,communication and defense satellites. And those satellites paved way for discoveringing hidden resources, exploit them better. We today launch satellites commercially.We have to sow the seeds now to reap benefits from them tomorrow. Chandrayaan-I is today as Aryabhatta was in 1975, a small stepping stone to sucess for future missions.

2. Another question being raised is “Bah! This was done by US/USSR 50 years ago,so its not much of an achievement”.

Well,if you say this then you have my full middle finger as an answer. When India announced plans for Chandrayaan-I, people were questioning India’s capability altogether,if India is indeed capable of undertaking such technologically challenging missions? many eyes were suspicious. Now when we have done it, you say its not much of an achievement! Ever heard of “foot-in-mouth-disease”? Also if it is not much of an achievement, why only 5 countries were able to accomplish this before Chandrayaan?

Chandrayaan is not just a chest thumping issue for India as it was for US/USSR when they indulged in space race propelled by the cold war to put the first man on moon. Chandrayaan intends to make more detailed maps of moon. It will only benefit mankind,so why all these lame arguements. Chandrayaan-I has 6 international probe aboard,all included free of cost, so instead of reaping benefits from Chandrayaan why are we still raising eyebrows on a supposedly third world country for launching its moon mission? India has time and again proved that it is arriving at the global stage like never before. Why ignore it? What is the need for doing so?

One more question on a rather neutral tone possible is, why moon? Why not Mars?Or atleast a manned mission?

Well, you need to grow steady.  India so far had only launched satellites into the Earth’s orbit. We had not ventured beyond Earth’s orbit. So we had to fist make a stop at the next higher level before going further. Who says it would have been wise attempting a direct manned landing on moon in 2020 without a dress rehearsal?  You need to have an expirience,expertise for every level and Chandrayaan-I will provide that for Chandrayaan-II and other missions. US and USSR have already learnt it, but we still are learing it so that we can send our man using this expirience.

I was obviously glued to my television screen from the morning as you know i just could not have afford to miss it.But i was surprised on finding many people were just not bothered to check it and were sleeping at the launch time(it was 0620 local time you see).

Congrats to all the frontline personnels and those beind the scenes who worked so hard. Project incharge, M. Anadurai does not even have an air conditioned office, but he and other people have done every Indian proud. The nation salutes you all.

Here is a video of the launch in case you were not able to catch it LIVE.

Jai Hind


  1. Hi
    I whole heartedly agree with you.I feel it is not just our politicinas ,it is due to some of the indians as well,we are always implanted that India cannot manufacture quality only japan can do ,so the easily give up atitude coupled with selfishness does not do any good.
    Is it not our forefathers fought british and got us independence ,if only we carried out the same spirit in building india we could have been much better off.
    Why are we not united .why do not indians learn inspite of seeing teamwork in western countries .
    Iam sure if we encourage our scientific establishmnets and provide proper funds and spirit we can be the best in the world.
    Japan inspite of being bombed to the core has risen to produce the best electronic consumer goods today anyone will vouch for a Sony TV or a Toyota Car .
    Well we indians do have resources,intelligence coupled with hardwork can do better .
    For india to be strong ,we need to be united as one ,and keep our regional,communal and caste based issues aside and work towards common goals
    We need hundreds and thousands of scientists like in ISRO ,to usher in a Biotechnology revolution ,green revolution ,white revolution etc.
    We can do it ourselves but we have to be united as one and believe in our abilities that we can and never give up with minor difficulties that may arise during the course of time

  2. Absolutely

    But you know,you are probably right. The whole things boils down to to politicians which are,actually our own representatives. We only select them to lead us. But thats another (sad) story,lets leave that for another post!
    But no doubt,if we fund our R&D properly, we will do a hell lot better than what we do now.

    Why are we not united
    Well,ask people like Raj Thackeray, and those literate and intelligent people who support him. 😐

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