India looks to Mars after space milestone
Mon, 10 Sep 2012 12:54p.m.
By 3 News online staff
The Indian space program has reached a milestone with the completion of its 100th space mission.
Two foreign satellites – a French Earth observation satellite, SPOT-6, and a Japanese microsatellite, PROITERES – were carried into orbit on Sunday by the Indian-designed Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C21 rocket.
The rocket took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, 80km north of Chennai, and was cheered on by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who described it as “a spectacular success,” The Hindustan Times reports.
India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K Radhakrishnan says the weekend’s launch is “a major milestone”.
“We have 62 Indian satellites, one space recovery module and – with today’s PSLV – 37 launch vehicle missions.”
Dr Radhakrishnan also says that SPOT-6 is the heaviest “customer satellite” to have been launched using the PSLV, weighing in at 720 kg.
India has had an active space program since the 1960s and has launched scores of satellites for itself and other countries,
It launched its first satellite – the indigenous Aryabhatta – from Russia, on April 19, 1975.
Mars, moon missions on the horizon
Following Sunday’s successful launch, attention has now turned to future missions.
ISRO launched its first unmanned lunar probe Chandrayaan-1 in 2008, and successfully detected evidence of water on the moon’s surface for the first time.
The proposed return lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 – a joint project between ISRO and the Russian Federal Space Agency (RKA) – was initially set down for a launch in 2014.
Dr Radhakrishnan says the future of the mission now depends on decisions yet to be made by Russia, The Times of India reports.
"Russia is reviewing its inter-planetary missions after a failed joint mission with China. For Chandrayaan-2, Russia has to provide the lander. India will build the lunar orbiter and rover. Russia has said they would come to us with a decision after their review,” he says.
But Dr Radhakrishnan talked more positively about the Indian space agency’s plans to send a spacecraft to orbit Mars in November next year.
He says the Mars Orbiter Mission, which has been in development since 2010, was given government approval last month.
If successful, the mission would make India just the third nation to reach Mars.
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10/09/2012 2:48:43 p.m.
What a total waste of money, with all those starving people, why not spend what money you have feeding them.
The Indian Govt sit back and expect the rest of the world to feed their starving people..Then blow it all on this bull****.
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