3 things to know about India’s space programme

space 19

(NASA, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Douglas Broom, Senior Writer, Formative Content


India’s bid to join a select group of nations who have landed on the moon has taken off.

The country’s Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft has successfully launched from the Sriharikota space centre – a giant leap in its increasingly ambitious space programme.

If it succeeds, India will become the fourth nation to achieve what’s known as a “lunar soft landing”, following the former Soviet Union, the US and China.

Image: Statista

So as the country blasts into space, here are three key facts about its plans.

1. It’s heading to the moon

The launch of Chandrayaan 2 – its name means Moon Vehicle in Sanskrit – was delayed for a week by technical problems before its successful lift-off on 22 July.

It blasted off on top of India’s most powerful rocket – the GSLV Mk III, and its unmanned lander is due to touch down near the moon’s south pole on 7 September.

Named Vikram, after the founder of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Dr Vikram A Sarabhai, the lander will deploy a rover called Pragyan – wisdom in Sanskrit – that will explore the surface.

It will be the second time India has been to the moon. In 2008, Chandrayaan 1orbited and discovered water molecules on its surface. The spacecraft also launched an “impact module”, which sent images back to Earth before crash-landing.

Launch of Chandrayaan 2
Image: ISRO

2. It’s planning manned space flights – and a space station

India wants to launch its first manned space mission in 2022, to mark the 75th anniversary of the nation’s independence. Codenamed Gaganyaan – space vehicle in Sanskrit – the project has a budget of almost $1.5 billion.

Gaganyaan will have a crew of two or three people and spend around seven days in low Earth orbit. ISRO says the mission is the first step towards building India’s own space station, which it plans to do in five to seven years.

The country launched a space probe to Mars in 2014 and is planning a second for 2022. It has also approved a project to study the sun late next year, and ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan has reportedly said that he wants to reach Venus in 2023.

India is planning these ambitious missions on the back of its development of a range of increasingly large launch rockets, culminating in the GSLV Mk III, which launched the Apollo moon missions and is as powerful as the Saturn V.

How India’s Chandrayaan 2 will make it to the moon.
Image: ISRO

3. It’s emerging as a leader in launching other nations’ satellites

There are more than 2,000 working satellites orbiting the earth. Almost half of them belong to US-based organisations, 300 originate from China and roughly half that number from Russia.

The market for commercial space launches is crowded and competitive with Russia’s Soyuz and Vega launchers competing with those of the European Space Agency and the reusable rockets flown by US entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX corporation.

India has launched almost 270 satellites from 32 countries using its PSLV rocketsince the first version of the launcher entered service in 1993. The SpaceX Falcon 9 has so far launched just over 100.

 

Commercial satellites now heavily outnumber those used by the military. But some have questioned the amount being spent by nations like India on space exploration when they have pressing social issues at home.

There is also concern that the proliferation of orbiting objects may cause collisions with manned missions like the International Space Station. Although life-expired satellites eventually burn up in Earth’s atmosphere, they can drift for many years before meeting a fiery end.

The UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) is drawing up best practice guidelines, and China has recently acted to regulate its growing private space industry. The UN also maintains a Register of Objects Launched into Outer Space.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the worst in the world, warns UN

Venice will now start charging tourists an entrance fee

Parliament elects Ursula von der Leyen as first female Commission President

Greenhouse gas levels in atmosphere break another record, UN report shows

FROM THE FIELD: One teen’s journey from refugee camp to US school principal

EU members commit to build an integrated gas market and finally cut dependency on Russia

European Parliament strengthens EU consumer protection rules

European Commission requests that Italy presents a revised draft budgetary plan for 2019

Unlock the value proposition for Connected Insurance

Libya ‘in race against time’, but dissolving conflict ‘a realistic prospect’, Security Council hears

“Access denied”: the Greek health system under pressure

European Commission recommends common EU approach to the security of 5G networks

Health spending set to outpace GDP growth to 2030

‘Catastrophic’ healthcare costs put mothers and newborns at risk

Breaking news: Juncker’s Commission mutant trojan horse is on the loose in Strasbourg

The eighth round of TTIP negotiations concludes in Brussels amid scepticism and new fears

A 550 km-long mass of rotting seaweed is heading for Mexico’s pristine beaches

The 100-year climate catastrophe of Mont Blanc

Brexit may finally not really happen; The Brits have second thoughts

Paris, Rome, Brussels and Frankfurt to confront Berlin over growth and the Athens enigma

Algorithmic warfare is coming. Humans must retain control

Europe and UN form bulwark against ‘might makes right’ worldview, EU foreign affairs chief tells Security Council

Iran nuclear talks’ deadline extended: the match is still open for many

How traditional Islamic giving can play a role in the future of aid

“As German Chancellor I want to be able to cope with the merger of the real and digital economy”, Angela Merkel from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Despite progress towards peace, Afghanistan facing ‘daunting challenges’ ahead of presidential vote

The ECB will do whatever it takes to set the Eurozone economy again in motion

High level political talks didn’t break the stalemate in Ukraine

Vaccination: European Commission and World Health Organization join forces to promote the benefits of vaccines

Camino de Santiago – a global community on our doorstep

UN member states express their will to tackle global migration but specific actions are still missing

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Rohingya cannot become ‘forgotten victims,’ says UN chief urging world to step up support

UN committed to helping Haiti build better future, says Guterres, marking 10-year anniversary of devastating earthquake

Health privatisation: reviving Alma-Ata

Currency Union might not let an independent Scotland join the EU as the “Yes” front now leads

Greece: Tsipras’ referendum victory does not solve the financial stalemate of the country and its banks

ACP-EU : Agreement on climate change, migration and post-Cotonou

Grievous violations continue against Myanmar civilians, Human Rights Council hears

EU Ombudsman investigates the European Commission

UNICEF delivers medical supplies to Gaza in wake of deadly protests

FROM THE FIELD: Weaving profits in Azerbaijan

Cyclone Idai: UNICEF warns of ‘race against time’ to protect children, prevent spread of disease in flood-ravaged Mozambique

UN chief hopes for new agreement after Israel concludes international observation mission

Russia is ready for its Phase 3 evaluation once it fulfills high-priority recommendation

COP24: World sports join team UN in race against climate change

“Working together to make a change at the COP 21 in Paris”, an article by Ambassador Yang of the Chinese Mission to EU

How civil society can adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Retirees will outlive their savings by a decade

The European Commission to stop Buffering

Syria: UN Humanitarian Coordinator calls for unimpeded access from within the country

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

FROM THE FIELD: A UN peacekeepers-eye view of DR Congo

Syria: UN-backed watchdog says chemical weapon ‘likely used’ in February attack

Guterres hails historic Convention banning violence and harassment at work

Sexual abuse of elderly likely to ‘grow dramatically’, UN expert says

Judges urge Security Council to serve interests of all UN Member States

“They are trying to make improvements, but of course they are quite slow for my generation”, Vice President of JADE Victor Soto on another Sting Exclusive

Europe must remember its past to build its future

EP leaders call for negotiations on upgraded Transparency Register to continue

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s