News / Asia

    India to Launch Mission to Mars This Year, says President

    India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-21 blasts off from the Satish Dhawan space centre at Sriharikota, north of the southern Indian city of Chennai, September 9, 2012. India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-21 blasts off from the Satish Dhawan space centre at Sriharikota, north of the southern Indian city of Chennai, September 9, 2012.
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    India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-21 blasts off from the Satish Dhawan space centre at Sriharikota, north of the southern Indian city of Chennai, September 9, 2012.
    India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-21 blasts off from the Satish Dhawan space centre at Sriharikota, north of the southern Indian city of Chennai, September 9, 2012.
    Reuters
    India will launch its first mission to Mars this year, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Thursday, as the emerging Asian nation looks to play catch up in the global space race alongside the United States, Russia and its giant neighbor China.

    "Several space missions are planned for 2013, including India's first mission to Mars and the launch of our first navigational satellite,'' Mukherjee told parliament.

    India will send a satellite in October via an unmanned spacecraft to orbit the red planet, blasting off from the southeastern coast in a mission expected to cost about $83 million, scientists who are part of the mission say.

    The spacecraft, which will be made in India, will take nine months to reach Mars and then launch itself in an elliptical orbit about 500 km (310 miles) from the planet.

    "The mission is ready to roll,'' Deviprasad Karnik, a scientist from the India Space Research Organisation (ISRO), said by phone from the city of Bangalore.

    India's mission to Mars has drawn criticism in a country suffering from high levels of malnutrition and power shortages, and currently experiencing its worst slowdown in growth in ten years. But India has long argued that technology developed in its space programme has practical applications to everyday life.

    India's space exploration programme began in 1962. Five years ago, its Chandrayaan satellite found evidence of water on the moon. India is now looking at landing a wheeled rover on the moon in 2014.

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    Comments
         
    by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
    February 25, 2013 11:03 AM
    Bravo for India, its government and its people; it is a tremendous achievement, for which they can be very proud.

    TO THE CRITICS of this incredible achievement; you have to look at the fact that this program has prevented the continuous brain drain of thousands of the brightest people from India; such a program will also translate into many thousands of technologies which have domestic and even export applications.

    For the past 50 yrs, India has trained luminaries, most have been lost, by leaving India, because past Indian gvmts did not grasp as to how the brain drain could be stopped. To stop the brain drain, India must have challenging frontier programs, and offer employment and great development opportunities to its new generation of highly skilled scientists, engineers, technologists and technicians, thus this achievement benefits India greatly, by enabling it to retain its brightest and develop technologies of great value.

    by: Kitagawa Keikoh from: Daikanyama, JPN
    February 22, 2013 7:15 PM
    Space race is not for technology improvement but just for political ego, especally for a political leader's ego.

    It cost huge amount of money. Why we need to develop several kind of space craft systems developed by different countries. Only one space system is enough as a global technology.

    by: chris banton from: New Jersey
    February 22, 2013 6:14 PM
    It's all out of foolish pride. These nations simply want to belittle the great entreprenuership and pioneering technological achievements of the U.S. Why don't they start at Kitty Hawk - with a small twin engine plane, and then move on from there.

    by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
    February 21, 2013 7:23 PM
    What India needs is not a satelite circling the Mars, but infrastructure development and reduction of poverty.

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