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Indian space probe „Chandrayaan-1“ mission to moon

October 22, 2008 – 12:45 pm

India’s first space probe directed to the moon just started and at the same time India’s space program wrote history. India is back on stage so to say. India has been a very forward nation in middle ages, lots of science came from that place at that time, then the advance was lost in history. With launching this moon probe named „Chandrayaan-1“ successfully India showed the entire world what they are capable of. But there is more to it than some nice headline. ISRO, the Indian Space Research Organisation can be really proud now!

India is catching up

As space technology has always been some kind of measurement where a country is at India has made a statement that it is no longer a 3rd world country. The moon probe has yet not reached the moon, however everything is looking fine and there is only few doubt, that the Indians can’t make it to the moon. The main objective of „Chandrayaan-1“ is mapping the moon for resources like metals and helium-3. While this has been done countless times before, it is somehow another demonstration of technology. With this mapping India is repeating what Japan’s „Kaguya“ moon probe and China’s „Chang´e-1“ moon probe have done before. And of course the Western nations and Russia have done this before. The result of „Chandrayaan-1“ could be more than some beautiful maps.

The way from earth to moon of the „Chandrayaan-1“ moon probe.

„Chandrayaan-1“ could further destabilize the China – Pakistan – India triangle

Recently China has recently shown strong support for Pakistan, the smaller neighbour of huge India. Also India has some disputes with Pakistan. To get respect for themselves both India and Pakistan have developed and successfully tested nuclear bombs. However India has space technology while Pakistan doesn’t. China therefore has given generous support to Pakistan and heating up the situation.

At the moment I only hope this Indian moon mission is successful and everyone in the China – Pakistan – India triangle will cool down soon, maybe with a bottle of Qingdao beer. Why China doesn’t like India really is unknown to me. India is still far behind China, most parts of India are far more rural than any random place in China. Maybe China has some self esteem problem. Probably the government has, as it is not elected by the people.

workers around the almost finished chandrayaan moon probe

Indian scientists work on the „Chandrayaan-1“ moon probe only few days before launch

India’s space plans

For 2011 India planned another moon probe, that time a Indian moonrover is planned to examine the moon surface in detail. Also the idea of sending humans into space is part of the Indian space programm, although no date for this is given so far. At the moment the leading Asian space nation seems to be China, at least when talking about manned space programs. China recently showed their space capabilities with Shenzhou 7. I’m looking forward what the Indian Space Research Organisation has to offer in the future.

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  1. 25 Responses to “Indian space probe „Chandrayaan-1“ mission to moon”

  2. India is China’s most bitter contender in the race to world’s power – and its ressources.
    If India grows, China can’t grow so well cuz ressources get more expensive – and vice versa.
    Personally, I feel that India has got a far larger inferiority complex than China – what might be also part of the reason why they set up a space programm.

    When we come to space itself:
    You say that space technology was “a kind of measurement where a country is” is Germany thus a development country? They don’t have their own space programm. Neither do Japan, Singapore, Switzerland… European country only have “their” ESA, but that’s a collective organisation which didn’t send any human being up to space yet (hopefully they will do so soon).

    By Aremonus on Oct 25, 2008

  3. You’re right, it’s a flawed argumentation on my side. Yet I feel those nations who go for some space missions want to give a statement somehow.

    Maybe that’s better: It’s a political statement trying to tell the world “We’re no longer third world.” Even if they still are.

    By Hendrik on Oct 26, 2008

  4. I am from India (settled in US) and while searching for some news came across your website. It is an interesting read. I would agree that there is a lot of difference between CHINA and INDIA in terms of progress made in different frontiers. What I wont agree though is the statement that India “…most parts of India are far more rural than any random place in China.” It may be true for some parts of the country but I can find places in China (specially countryside) where situation is equal bad if not worse. That said, China never had democracy and as such to some extent, they have been successful in streamlining some of the problems of free country by brute force. India’s progress is largely driven by individuals who did not get much help from a corrupt system. It is pretty much in this light that I see, India’s growth as remarkable.

    By Anil on Oct 27, 2008

  5. And to correct some of the points:
    1. SPACE technology is a matter of pride and its too bad that GERMANS have not been able to do so. I think they must have political reasons not to do so (specially after World War II…)
    Aremonus says that JAPAN does not have SPACE program (this is not factually correct). Singapore and Switzerland are more economically forward countries and they would weight monetary gains of a SPACE program before investing as such (They are small countries and do not have huge economies). Also Aremonus says “India is China’s most bitter contender in the race to world’s power “…this is a perceived image that is being developed across the world. India and China have 40% of world population but do not have 40% of world’s resources and as such they can not fight among themselves (wont be meaningful…)they have to look outside and it may mean SPACE as thats one place where most of the world is not yet able to fight tooth and NAIL….

    By Anil on Oct 27, 2008

  6. Hello Anil,

    thanx for Your comment.

    Actually I’ve not been in India, but I do know some people who had been to China and India and everyone agrees China is far more developed at the moment. Indeed China’s political system is quite questionable, but I have to admit it is the best to boost the economical growth of the country.

    But the fact of Germany not having its own space program is actually an advantage. Why would Germany need a one, it is part of the ESA and can rely on ESA launchers. Also friendly cooperation with Russia and USA and also other emerging space nations makes launching things into space really cheap for Germany.

    What makes me wonder is the relatively low number of articles in newspapers about India. If there is an article about Asia, 9 of 10 times it is either China or Japan. India only got a boost now because of their rocket. Probably more of a political statement than a program that actually makes sense.

    I guess India does have enough space on Indian soil to do something. In the Northwest there are many empty plains. Why go to earth orbit?

    By Hendrik on Oct 27, 2008

  7. Hi Junjie,
    Thanks for the reply. I do agree that China is far more developed. I think there is not enough space on Indian soil to significantly alter the equation in the long run. We definitely have a lot of options that we can do but here is one example. If we can extract 1 ton of Helium 3 from Moon, it will suffice, all of India’s energy needs for 20 years+. Energy independence is key to success and would be cause of many battles on planet earth !

    By Anil on Oct 31, 2008

  8. Hi Anil

    Helium 3 *cough* *shrug*.
    Before any powerplant creates any energy from Helium, first the process of fusion has to be developed using Hydrogen. At the moment we can’t even create commercial power from hydrogen. The first real hydrogen power plant called ITER is still in planning phase and it is unsure if it will be built due to high costs. India is also involved in ITER. Yet ITER si a technology demonstration, not a commercial project. Helium 3 could be useful around the year 2200.. maybe.

    If the moon would only consist pure Gold, flying there grabbing some kilograms of them and bringing them back is still more expensive than mining them of earth soil.

    By Hendrik on Oct 31, 2008

  9. Hi Junjie,
    Thats may be true now but if we donot have the energy sources in future, expediency will come in research thins will become practical. Hydrogen technology is quiet practical. Search EBAY for hydrogen cell car kits. You will find plenty of them. I do agree that there are some practical issues that will take time to solve but resources need to be there. Lifting 1 ton from Moon and bringing it back to Earth is not immpossible…. and not very costly…. cheaper than buying 1 ton of nuclear fission material at current rates….

    By Anil on Nov 1, 2008

  10. Hydrogen fuel cells generate power using oxidation as energy source.

    Hydrogen or Helium 3 power plants would use fusion to generate power. Fusion is the opposite of fission. Fusion is also a total different technology than what happens in a fuel cell.

    However I think there are a lot of options for green energy in India. There is so much empty space, for example in Rajasthan, You could build huge solar power plants there which would generate enough electric energy for the whole country. There are also good opportunities for wind power plants along the coast of India. You guessed it, I’m a friend of clean energy ;)

    By Hendrik on Nov 1, 2008

  11. Hi
    I’m from India.
    I read your post in which discussion about possibility of reactor based on Nuclear Fusion.
    well, as per my knowledge europeans are working in same direction. they are trying to get some energy via nuclear fusion. for this they are using tokamak design and they have build a project named JET. they have already succeed to make energy input equal to energy output. on the other hand in india, a institute named Institute for Plasma Research is also working on tokamak design. in Ahemdabad they have make a working model named Aaditya ( hindi name of sun). both are example of fusion in lab. it is a fact that in this way we have fusion reaction only for few microseconds but i think that now we don’t have to wait too long to see a fusion based reactor.

    By akshay on Nov 4, 2008

  12. sorry for my poor english!! :)

    By akshay on Nov 4, 2008

  13. Hi,
    I am from India living in Dubai. Today indeed was a proud moment for India when a probe landed on the moon carrying India’s national flag the Tricolor (or Tiranga as it is called in India). All Indians feel proud and happy today.

    I spent some time on the Internet looking for people’s reaction around the world. Sadly, the world specially the Western media failed to duly acknowledge India’s feat.

    One article in New York Times remarked that such an expedition would provoke yawns in NASA. Most other articles and posts reminded India of its poverty and questioned the need for the mission. Mostly they commented that the purpose of Chandrayaan (moon vehicle) was more political than scientific. Many (including writers on this website) advised that India should do more on ground rather than going into space. One article slighted Indian rockets by saying that they were very small compared to the once developed by USA and Russia. One post says why cann’t India use the European and Russian rockets, etc. etc.

    All the above comments show two things ignorance and prejudice.

    First, India’s space program is at least four decades old. For most of the time, it has focussed on meeting the developmental needs of the nation providing telecommunication, remote sensing and wether forecasting services generating tremendous value for the country for the money spent. The budget of India’s space program is one thirtieth of that of USA. India’s moon mission is the most cost effective. India did not send the mission in isolation for satisfying its urge for national pride. Far from it, it is one of the finest example of international cooperation. India’s moon probe has carried six (out of 11) instruments to the moon for other countries, including one for NASA. This is in true age old tradition of India “vasudhaiva kutumb ekam” (which means entire world is a family).

    As far as “yawns” from NASA are concerned, recently Indian Space agency proved its prowess by deploying 11 satelites in one flight, which no one had done before.

    The moon mission of India is not an empty pubilicity stunt. It has definite scientific objectives. Otherwise why should six other countries from USA to Bulgaria send their instruments riding piggy back on Chadra Yaan?

    Now for the national pride and political motives, I fail to understand why India should not have its national pride. When China can have it and talk about it on every occassion be it Olympics or manned space mission, when USA, Russia, Japan and all can have it ….why not India?

    India deserves due appreciation for what it has achieved. I am proud of India more because India has magnanimously collaborated with those ocuntries which actually put sanctions and prevented India from acquiring space technology for many decades. I salute Indian scientists who not only overcame the challenge but also has the grace to collaborate their former tormentors.

    I hope people will make more informed and balanced comments with these clarifications.


    By Prashant on Nov 15, 2008

  14. Hello Prashant,

    thanks for Your comment.

    I don’t think the international press reactions aren’t that bad after all. Especially that India is flying a moon mission for less than $US 100million is really impressive.

    Many countries still give development aid in form of a lot of money to India. These countries now want to know if they still should support India, if India sends missions to the moon. A question that has to be answered.

    About the “yawns” thing.. well just ignore it ;)
    When Chandrayaan-1 finally sends moonpictures back, i’ll write an new article about it.

    By Hendrik on Nov 15, 2008

  15. I am A Japanes based in US and have spent time in India & China.It is interesting to note the difference in perception of Indian & Chinese….grow-up people.

    This life is too big than the gains (for Indians) and loss (for Chinese)debate….or at least that is what the content of blog seems like.

    I am not sure what Chinese have achieved of their progress…please excuse me, but they are still seen as:

    Copier of technology and manufacturer of cheap & low quality goods. At the forefront of controversies like…weapon proliferation, Lead in toys, Poison in milk, unreported deaths…etc

    Supressant of democracy within their geography and of smaller neighbouring countries like Taiwan, Tibet etc. Ruled by power-loving fews who have no consideration for human rights

    Supporter of rogue states like North Korea & Pakistan

    In the name of progress, they have exploited the natural resources. Just a case to prove my point is..the biggest of dam they build will be the largest source of green house emission. Any of us who have been to China will agree that the their cities look like large factories…Gas chambers without an iota of greenery.

    On the other hand, world sees India as champion of democracy, leader in science and technology, the birth-place of civilizations and cultures…including buddhism, land of prosperity (rural areas are more prosperous due to their agricultural wealth)

    By Akunamo San on Nov 17, 2008

  16. Hi,

    If I know correctly, China has also been active in training Taliban and have global report on terrorism (google it) to prove that.

    Further they have been a bad neighbour to peace-loving countries like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan.

    Their attempt to showcase supremacy of technology fell flat during the opening ceremony of Olympics.

    The Axis of evil today certainly includes China

    By Esteffan Idobu on Nov 17, 2008

  17. China has waged a heavy-handed campaign Uighur Muslims agitating for an independent East Turkestan State in the oil-rich Xinjiang region that borders Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia.

    Xinjiang is home to 8 million Uighurs, a Turkic, largely Islamic people who share linguistic and cultural bonds with Central Asia.

    Local population is up against the growing Han Chinese economic dominance in Xinjiang, as well as government controls on religion and culture. When will the ‘developed Chinese’ stop the repression of Uighur Muslims to exploit the natural resources?

    By Juhair on Nov 17, 2008

  18. Hi Junjie,
    I guess Akunama San pretty bluntly ( and honestly) gave you the reply of truth is about!Economic progress is great China first can never be USA- reason democracy and freedom!Do you what freedom is about?????India is sure right now behind in China but the rate at which it will catch up may astonish the world not just Chinese-such is the education revolution going there!Indians do not hate China-we do not know what chinese really are(your government is all the world knows)-but if you want to build legacy by supporting rogue nations like Pakistan-you will sure bite the dust.When poor have their stomachs filled and money in their pockets-first thing they will roar about is freedom of speech and liberty-can China take that roar-?India will not and does not have worry about that painful transition.Its tougher to be democracy for about 1000 cultures and 7 religions and 1.2 billion population of india than rule population by brute force!!!Its tougher than any space mission!!!China thinks that it can control india by using rogue nation like Pakistan-international exporter of terrorists!!It will backfire!!

    By abbal ali on Nov 17, 2008

  19. Hello!

    I am a German working in Canada and got to hear of this blog as it has some German reference. Germany as you would know is one of the key players in European Nations and as a leading economy in the region, we fund the ESA operations and the research findings are used by the member countries.

    Now coming to India’s achievemt in space, I think, India today has the potential to replace US or any other country as the world leader…thanks to it’s education system which has been showing the way the world from the start of civilization.

    India was developed when the world was still taking shape and it is due to the learned men from India -astrologers, scientist, surgeons – and their work (not only today, but thousands of years back)which has led to development of number system, astrology and medicine system.

    China has been in awe of this civilization fromm the times of Huen Tsang, Fa Hsien, Xuan Zang and Yi Qing…these Chinese scholars visited the seats of learning in India and carried the wonderful stories of prospering society back to China…something which was not seen or heard of there.

    For any country to equate with India would mean to bridge the gap of 10000 years….having a first hand experience of that country and it’s history….I think India is atleast that many years ahead of the world

    By Steffen Paulus on Nov 17, 2008

  20. Gentlemen – I am from India working in the US currently. India’s achievment of phenomenol considering India had not reverse engineered, stolen or copied any technologies. Rather India has built these technologies over 20 years of organic progression. Great job and onwards to landing Indians on the moon by 2018….

    By sayan Bose on Jan 17, 2009

  21. I am from India working in USA. Its good to see Indophiles here. But to put a counter point and restrict any Indian making foolish comments, like India is best, has best education system, has democracy, freedom of speech and blah blah…. what not, to the extent that Indian food is the best, I would like to say that we make our arguments week and show lack of judgment on our part by making those comments. Lets not compare and lets not put above others or below. Lets be objective.

    Now I personally feel India has big problems and the biggest of them is bigotry. Even educated people tend towards it and thats what hurts me the most.

    By Ashish Singh on Jan 28, 2009

  22. correction I mean weak and not week.

    By Ashish Singh on Jan 28, 2009

  23. nice blog..pretty much everything has been written concern from china is that it( by any means) wants to produce goods for the entire world and every country its monopolistic market..even after being such a large country- they hace been land greedy(have border problems with all its neighbours).its like they are gearing up to fight india 10 years later from the way they are militarizing tibet and south china ..but people are good and sweet like india..i hope 10-20 years later- india and china are not fighting for supremacy in asia..or any kind of cold war..(newspapers now and then are filled with chinese intrusions into indian territory..they are provoking us ..and helping pakistan (legally and illegally)..indian original brands (bikes. cars,etc) are sold by copying in entire pak-afk-central asia and south america..the have even copied russian sukhois 30 fighter aircrafts!!! teh should play by rules..average indian is stronger than average chines b’cse nobody in india can take self imposed dictatorship or overlordship even in a small housing society..everybody wants and makes himself heard anyhow!! i just hope we dont go for a cold or haot war gain..its not worth it..there r so many interesting things to work on like space program!!!

    By antriksh on Jun 16, 2009

  24. Hello Antriksh,

    Thanks for commenting on my article about China-India relations. What You say is true.

    It’s been quite a while since I’ve written this article. In the summer I’ll have some time to write an update.

    By Hendrik on Jun 17, 2009

  25. I wonder & want to know same thing “Why China doesn’t like India really is unknown to me.” I admire China’s progress in many fields, but maintaining democracy & being a free country with freedom of opinion is mattering most to me. I’ll prefer to be a poor man in a free country rather than being rich in a country where I’ve no freedom.

    By Chaitanya on Jul 8, 2009

  26. There are only two prominent places in this world where real inventions came from. In recent times Germany from the west. In the east from the beginnings of human civilization till early 1800s in India. Interestingly people of these two places may be genetically linked? although Germans have blond hair and blue eyes.

    India has been free from British and Islamic rule since late 1940s; so once again it is becoming prominent.

    One can say rest of the world copied from these two places.

    German Jet & Rocket technology copied by Russians, Americans, French, and many other nations. Scientists were treated like Rock stars in Germany, and in India they are highly respected from ancient times. In USA politicians, sales, marketing, executives, movie stars, rock stars etc are treated highly; scientists are not held high.

    Interestingly India’s Chandrayaan probe found water on the moon, missed by American scientists for decades and results later confirmed from past and other later probes data. So labeled as 3rd world country moon probe, with low budget did a good thing, finding water on moon is something every human being needs, it is a question of survival on moon for every human being.

    By Sam on Oct 11, 2009

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