Indian Satellite Launch – A World Record Worth Noting
The last year or so has been an incredible time for the development of space technology. More countries are coming to the fore to try and get involved in a new ‘space race’ while big-name groups are struggling. The likes of SpaceX, the company run by Elon Musk, have seen serious reputational harm in the last few years.
Meanwhile, the likes of China have significantly ramped up their space programs to try and get in at the top of the table. With so much excitement going on, everyone forgot about one major player: India.
Well, the Indians just completed a world record – they have recorded history. They launched 104 satellite into space in one single mission. It’s a huge amount of satellites to be moving all at once, but they managed to pull it off. You can see it take place right away if you check out this great video on the Independent.
Watch for yourself and see the moment that we just created a huge part of space history. As we continue to get more ambitious as a species about really breaking into space technology, successes like this should become a staple.
While 101 of these satellites are not Indian, they still had to be launched and worked with in the first place. This move, though, helps to make sure that India can push in on the massive, multi-billion-dollar global space industry. Having been a rising power for decades, this helps to establish India as one of the most powerful nations in the technological world.
Long since seen as a nation with potential to be a global player and a dominant force within politics, moves like this only further enforce that idea. Alongside their two major allies, Russia and China, India now stands as one of the true powers.
An Important Step Forward
Carried off by the Indian Space Research Organisation, this flawless execution was watched on national TV – and around the world. It became an instant hit, a remarkable showcase of the incredible power that India holds but never gets the credit for. noted as a ‘proud moment for our space scientific community and the nation’ by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has instantly rose to the top of international debate.
Having been a constant backer of the ISRO, Modi has always been open about the importance of dealing with space progression.
India sent a low-cost probe to Mars in 2014, and succeeded at the first trial. In the world of space exploration, where failures are far more common than successes, this was a distinctly notable feat.
Indeed, the cost-effective nature of the ISRO and their operations means they are becoming a common attraction for companies looking to get satellites into space. Last year, the low pricing limit of the ISRO’ expansion of satellites seen 75 sent into orbit from Sriharikota.
The make-up of the payload that went up this time was mostly American (96 in total) but also Dutch, Swiss, Kazakh, Emirati and Israeli satellites all joined onto the program. This was not just a success for India, then, but a success for the whole international space community.
Whatever your thoughts may be on various parts of space politics, this rare showcase of harmony is heart-warming. It’s also great to see another major world power rising up and flexing their muscles on one of the grandest stages of all.
For that reason, many people are beginning to believe that we might be in the middle of seeing a shift in the decades to come. Could the BRIC nations really become the prominent space powers?
Seismic Shifts in Space Viability?
Now, the reason this is such a big showcase is not just down the fact it was a success. It was the fact that it was such a huge step forward, from a nation that had shown limited space capabilities so far. Indeed, the record for satellites being launched into orbit at once stood at, comparatively, a mere 37. Russia was the successor that time, when they managed to do so in 2014. Since then, the developments in Indian space quality has been remarkable.
Now, it’s bookended with an incredible feat that far more affluent and well-developed nations have been incapable of. A large section of the satellites is run by the Planet firm. With the aim of using these satellites to take an image of the Earth every day, Planet are ambitious in their plans. This would allow for better planning and analysis of the world, but it would also complete the company’s goal.
Set up in 2010, Planet aimed to eventually be able to take images of the entire planet. Now that looks like being possible – finally.
So, what does that actually mean? As ever, Planet can now profit from this new-found data.
They can sell on these analysis sections to companies that want to keep track of various things. For one, it could be a powerful solution for helping to stop the rampant de-forestation that we are seeing across the globe. With these satellites, we can have genuine visual proof from afar that these acts are taking place in such numbers.
Now, we can be proactive rather than just hearing reports. Thanks to the constant visual proof, we can make it clearer than ever about the problems that we are facing as a species. Environmental damage, after all, is hard to disprove when you have satellite imagery to back it up!
VIDEO: Launch of the Satellites
Making Exploration Affordable
The main feat that makes this so impressive, though, is the cost. A notoriously expensive enterprise, managing the cost of a space mission can be a huge, nearly impossible, challenge. India, though, are making a habit of doing these hugely impressive feats without anything like the same spiralling costs of many of their more affluent competitors.
Low-cost space access and exploration has been the Indian goal for many years. As large parts of the public in other nations see the huge costs of space exploration as needless in an era of austerity and political unrest, doing it on the cheap with positive results is most certainly a win/win for the space community.
This would allow for the country to immediately step forth and stake their claim as one of the emerging space powers. If they can get it done, with less experience and funding, than other groups, then what’s to stop India continuing to become such a dominant player in space?
It’s an interesting topic, and one that is grabbing much of the space community by the scruff of the neck. It’s likely that in the future we might even see other space programs turning to India to help them manage their success without breaking the bank.
This is a massive swing in perception, too, further cementing India as one of the prevalent world powers. As we continue to become a more technologically advanced species, and these technologies make their way to every nation, we need help in ensuring that it can be progressive.
India offering cost-effective and successful deployment of satellites could see them become a major player in the space scene. If they continue to get such excellent results, then it’s very much likely that this success will continue for some time to come.
For example, in 2014, when India carries out its successful Mars probe, it cost $74m. Compare that to the $670m that NASA had to use to complete a similar mission. It’s easy, then, to see why much of the space community is casting loving glances at India instead.
They seem to be offering the beginning of a more cost-effective entry into the world of space exploration and improvement. For any other major player in the industry, this could be a rather significant turning point as India continues to move up the ladder in terms of global importance.