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18 Jul,2023 05:24 PM, by: Dani Takamunni
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The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully launched its third lunar exploration mission Chandrayaan-3, which lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh on 14th July, 2:35 PM. This momentous launch is a matter of national pride for India, attracting millions of enthusiastic spectators from all around the world and is currently the talk of all media outlets and social media platforms.

Apart from the successful launch of Chandrayaan-3 and its impact in the space exploration journey of India, it’s also remarkable how ISRO has managed to execute its space programmes at a low budget. The Chandrayaan-2 launched in 2019 had a budget of Rs 978 crore. Following up with a higher success rate and a much lower budget, India’s Chandrayaan-3 launch took off successfully with a budget of just Rs 615 crore.

Looking back at the history of India’s space programme, our first rocket was transported using a bicycle and the second one was conveyed by means of a bullock cart. Given India’s financial limitations, a significant investment in the space program becomes challenging. ISRO’s Founder Vikram Sarabhai was aware that India was at a disadvantage when it came to its socio-economic condition at the time. Therefore, he was driven by a vision to register a milestone in India’s space programme that will open newer and exciting avenues in the journey of India’s space exploration programmes and strengthen the nation’s position along with it. Sarabhai was succeeded by Satish Dhawan as ISRO’s Chairman, who took forward this vision amidst India’s financial constraints. Prioritising the need to sustain ISRO’s mission in space programmes despite the financial limitation, Dhawan decided to accept only 1 rupee as his salary.

Sarabhai’s legacy and Dhawan’s grit to take India into newer heights of space exploration continues to fuel ISRO’s operations even today. Today, India has prospered significantly in terms of its socio-economic condition. Interestingly, ISRO’s space programmes continue to follow economically viable routes even today. To put things into perspective, a space programme run by ISRO costs almost 15 times less than that of NASA’s. Moreover, ISRO’s operational rate today is so efficient and trustworthy that it has received finances from 28 countries by successfully launching their satellites.

Back in 1969, when ISRO was first established in India, it came off as a mockery to the world as NASA had already sent their first man to the moon by then. Nonetheless, ISRO embarked on its journey and over time went on to become a counterweight to China and even to the United States’ NASA.

What does Chandrayaan-3 mean to India?

The successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 would position India as the pioneering country in explaining the origins of Earth and the theory of evolution. A successful landing would enable detailed investigations of the lunar surface and the transmission of valuable information to ISRO. So far, only three countries—America, Russia, and China—have achieved successful moon landings. The south pole, targeted for the Chandrayaan-3 landing, features a rugged surface with large craters. These craters ensure that sunlight has never directly reached the surface, posing challenges for a soft landing.

India’s Chandrayaan-3 is projected to make its landing sometime around August 23, almost six weeks after the launch. The time taken is significantly higher than previous missions launched by China, United States and Russia, where the time taken by these nations ranged from around 36 hours to a little over 4 days. On the contrary, the Chandrayaan-3 is not equipped with a powerful enough rocket to be put on a direct path to the moon. But where it lacks in infrastructure, ISRO makes up for it using a calculated approach using a series of Earth orbits and engine burns to gradually increase the spacecraft’s speed and position it for a lunar insertion. The multi-step approach may be time-consuming but enables the use of a relatively less powerful launch vehicle for the mission.

A successful soft landing by Chandrayaan-3 would significantly elevate India's stature in the international space landscape, potentially opening doors for collaborations with esteemed space agencies like NASA. Furthermore, ISRO's space projects hold immense significance for national security, as they also facilitate the effective monitoring of any untoward disturbances caused by certain foreign nations.

In 2021, ISRO played a pivotal role in evacuating 1.15 million people during Cyclone Yaas in Odisha. Additionally, ISRO satellites actively monitor earthquakes, cyclones, and floods.





Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Critical Script or its editor.

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