India enters the global space race

In the global space race, India has successfully put a satellite into Mars’ orbit for around a budget £45.6 million (just over half the budget of Hollywood blockbuster Gravity). The Mars Orbiter Mission was placed into the Red Planet’s atmosphere after 300 days and 420 million miles of travelling, on 24 September 2014.

Kishalay Choudhury, a member of the Facebook group Sussex India said: “[There are] no words to describe the pride that I take in [the program], especially being in Astronomy.”While pride may be high, with an image of the crowded command control room going viral, there has been some controversy over the publicly funded space programme.In the West, space programs are becoming increasingly privately funded but India has undertaken this mission using public money.

This has led some, including the Economist, to question how a developing nation has afforded this space pursuit.Nevertheless, MOM, also known as Mangalyaan (“Mars craft” in Hindi), is being internationally recognised, putting India at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to space exploration.The India Space Research Organisation is only the fourth space agency to reach Mars, joining NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), and the first to be successful on the first attempt.

Mr Choudhury added: “[The program] marks a revolution of space-age India. And the adrenaline is high!”The ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) is also narrowing the gender divide as many women who apparently works at ISRO have been seen celebrating alongside their male counterparts.

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