| 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 recognised 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 symbolises ‘Make in India’.
Speaking at the ‘Make in India’ workshop on December 29, 2014 The 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 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 said adding “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 aredirectly involved in the making of the spacecraft itselfthat was put together by the Indian Space Research Organisation (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 symbolise the humble “made in India” tag that Mangalyaan carries.
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. A feat not achieved even by great space powers like USA and America. 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 November 5, 2013. What caught the attention of the world was the relatively small cost of the mission Rs 450 crores or about $75 million, which is ten times cheaper than the NASA’s latest mission that reached Mars two days ahead of India’s. This was undoubtedly the lowest cost inter-planetary mission ever to be undertaken in the twenty-first century. As ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan says “modularity” of sub-systems helps reduce costs and the low wage bills alongside the long hours put in by ISRO’s 500 work force that worked on the Mars satellite helped keep the cost very low.
On June 30, Modi watched the majestic lift-off of the 114 Indian mission of the Indian space agency the launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle that has till date launched 40 satellites from as many 19 different countries. ISRO’s commercial arm the Antrix Corporation Limited has an annual turnover of about Rs 15,000 million and it has already procured orders for three more dedicated commercial launches using the PSLV, which will place in orbit another 14 foreign satellites in the coming years. V S Hegde, Chairman and Managing Director of Antrix Corporation Limited says “we are already a force to be reckoned with and we are definitely going to grow.”
Reaching for the stars is not the only frontier where India’s efforts are bearing fruit, tapping nuclear energy is also a big aspirational dream for India. India today is contributing actively in world’s largest science project to generate fusion energy.
Evergreen atomic energy is a possibility! A star is set to be born in southern France, a humongous over $ 20 billion effort is being made to make a nuclear reactor like never before, a special steel cauldron where fusion energy could be tapped and it is called the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). Ratan Kumar Sinha Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission says fusion energy holds the promise of becoming an unlimited source of environment friendly energy for the world. – Courtesy Indian High Commission in Brunei Darussalam