Monday, December 26, 2016

Why is US very much dependent on India for launching its own micro-satellites ?

Launching satellites is a prestige issue for any country. ISRO launched a couple of satellites for Singapore last year, a flamboyant small economy with no democracy and a weak technology power and will be forever indebted to India for handholding it to space.

When during the latter half of January 2017, India launches 104 satellites into space aboard its versatile Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) little would the world be knowing that 96 of these satellites are being launched for the second space power in the world, the 240 year old nascent country, the new kid in town, the United States of America.

US companies, would be the last to go elsewhere for launching satellites if they find US satellite launch costs are lower than any of the competitors. But why is it that over the years US has lost the competitive egde ?

Even though US was a space power initially, second only to USSR, its loosening grip over competitiveness in science and technology in relation to higher costs of launch and operation in the space technology area is very much evident in the fact that US launches are more costly than that of India. For reasons best known to itself, NASA and US would never be ready and willing to accept their great cost disadvantage till they are forced to call off their Space program like the earlier over bloated Apollo and Space Shuttle missions.. US exploring Mars is very innovative and the world is looking to US to start permanent stations on Mars in the near future ..

While the US govt may insist on national pride and vehicles of NASA to carry satellites / payload to space, the more cost-conscious and low-cost oriented private companies in the data processing domain, out to venture to space to efficiently control their communication and remote sensing capabilities are turning their back to NASA and accepting ISRO as a reliable partner in their strides to space.  The private player Elon Musk's Space Exploration Corp (Space-X) is also an expensive competitor to ISRO now .. But SpaceX has been laden with problem after problem at launch as in September '16, their launch which was a great failure.

NASA which has totally failed in controlling its costs, has lost its competitiveness and is dependent on private companies to hold aloft the US advantage and to keep costs low. It is just a matter of time before US, who have even faked the Apollo Lunar landings in 1969, finds its cheap games and gimmicks played on the people of the world exposed ..

After almost 35 successful fault-less launches of ISRO, India has a lot to teach and learn from US, China and Europe on how to still lower costs in space missions. It is not just the wage differential as US claims, it is also the innovative mindset of the scientific establishment in the country and the very superior intelligent workforce ..

China National Space Administration, hq in Beijing, estd 1993
The otherwise low-cost and low-technology destination of China is dumbstruck on how India has beaten them high and dry on costs in high tech space expeditions and in reaching the deep confines of space which China can never dream of in the near future ..

It would do an ocean of good for China if it realises that research, technology and high tech development cannot be dictated by individuals or any single political party, it is decided by the combined willpower and aspirations of a new generation of individuals and intelligent forward looking, peace loving, mutually respectful citizens ..


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