India solves remote sensing – solid, self-supported tech. Scott Carney, Staff Writer, “India's Cut-Price Space Program,” WIRED, August 14, 2006, http://www.wired.com/science/space/news/2006/08/71399?currentPage=2.
"The two organizations have different research priorities," said the current chairman of ISRO, Madhavan Nair. "NASA is interested in interplanetary exploration, looking at galaxies, asteroids and other planets. The ISRO is first and foremost interested in looking at planet Earth and conceiving of applications for space to improve the quality of life down here." That difference in attitude has been hard-won. Since it doesn't outsource any research to other countries with more developed programs, ISRO has built itself from the ground up. Remote sensing has been one of those areas where India stands shoulder to shoulder with programs in the United States. Able to launch satellites in both polar and geosynchronous orbits, India can take real-time high-resolution photographs of just about any place on the planet. One satellite launched in 2001 performed so well it made analysts wonder if it would be used to spy on other nations.
India has been way more productive than NASA and has amazing detection capabilities. Pallava Bagla, “India's growing strides in space,” 30 April 2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7374714.stm.
Isro argues that it's a profitable business - for every $1 spent on the space programme the return has been $2. Its budget is less than $1bn a year, compared with more than $17bn that Nasa spends. India's remote sensing capabilities are almost legendary. Today there are seven Indian-made and operated remote sensing satellites in orbit, the largest number of any country in the civilian domain. They can map at a resolution of less than a metre, which means you can literally count the number of soldiers marching in a formation, anywhere on Earth. Almost a third of the global market for remote sensing images at a resolution of 5-6 metres has already been captured by India. The new mapping satellite of the Cartosat series put into orbit on Monday will provide even higher resolution images to the global community as it joins its Indian twin that has already been functioning since early last year.
Indian remote sensing only costs half as much as anyone else’s programs. Scott Carney, Staff Writer, “India's Cut-Price Space Program,” WIRED, August 14, 2006, http://www.wired.com/science/space/news/2006/08/71399?currentPage=2.
Satellites don't turn too many heads these days while NASA sends robots to Mars, but the ISRO is gaining a commercial presence in space. "We can launch a remote-sensing satellite for half the price of anyone else," said Shridhara Murhi, executive director of Antrix, the commercial arm of ISRO. It's the sort of frugality and ingenuity that has begun to attract international investors. The demand for space imaging and communications is huge, and yet there are only a few players in the game.Last year, Antrix brought in more than $500 million, which was more than half of the operating budget for all of ISRO. It is aiming for a 10 percent market share in less than a decade.
India Solvency: Reusable Launch Vehicle
India developing a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle that will be able to come back through the atmosphere to be used again. Space Daily, Staff, “Step To Determine Future Of Indian Space Program,” April 24, 2006, http://www.physorg.com/news65075041.html.
Sometime next year, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will carry a payload to 800 km above the earths' surface, which will determine the future missions of the Indian space programme. The rocket will put into orbit a payload which will then re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. The objective of the mission, titled 'Payload Recovery Experiment' is to bring back the payload in an intact condition. The experiment is important because future missions of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will involve re-useable vehicles, which have to endure high temperatures while re-entering the atmosphere. "The success of this experiment will be crucial for missions like Chandrayan, where the space craft will have to be recovered," said honorary director of ISRO-University of Pune center MC Uttam at a lecture in Agharkar Research Institute on Friday. According to him, ISRO has already chalked out its plans for the next 25 years and the ultimate objective is to design a single or double stage re-usable vehicle, which will use air breathing technology to power itself in the lower atmosphere. Uttam fondly recalled the initial days of the Indian space programme, when the President APJ Abdul Kalam and his colleagues prepared payloads for sounding rockets with their own hands. Uttam pointed out the trust, faith and freedom that the government had bestowed on the ogranisation. He credited scientists like Vikram Sarabhai, Homi Bhabha, and Satish Dhawan, who gave the programme the focus and direction: "When ASLV rocket failed, the in-charge of the programme took up the responsibility in front of the media. He did not mention Kalam's name, who was the project manager. When it came to credit, he always put his juniors before him."
India holds world record ability to launch satellites. Pallava Bagla, “India's growing strides in space,” 30 April 2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7374714.stm.
Less well known is that in a nation where more than 300 million people live on less than $1 a day, it is also a real force to reckon with when it comes to top class rocket and satellite technology. On Monday the Indian space agency created a world record by successfully launching 10 satellites in one go. India has a better lauching capabilities than the US or even Russia. Pallava Bagla, “India's growing strides in space,” 30 April 2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7374714.stm.
That shattered the previous record of a Russian rocket that successfully launched eight satellites last year. Launching 10 satellites requires immense precision. When the tricky operation starts the rocket is already travelling at 7.5 kilometres per second. Jean-Yves Le Gall, CEO of Arianspace, Paris, says "simultaneously launching 10 satellites is a great achievement". The Indian space agency, set up 35 years ago, is still really a baby among the world's space-faring nations. This was its 26th launch of a rocket from India's only space centre, Sriharikota, situated on the Bay of Bengal coast in southern India. Compare this to the hundreds of launches that have been undertaken by Nasa and their Russian and European counterparts. India has 16,000 employees and has the largest network of satellites in the world. Pallava Bagla, “India's growing strides in space,” 30 April 2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7374714.stm.
The 16,000-employee Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has mastered these demanding space technologies with little outside help because of Delhi's decision to go ahead with nuclear testing way back in 1974. So its achievements are all the more impressive. India has a whopping 11 national communications satellites in orbit at present. That is the largest constellation for any country in the Asia-Pacific region. India's space programme is more than 45 years old Today the country undoubtedly has one of the largest national networks of operational satellites anywhere in the world. India satellites are already helping the people Newsweek, “Space You Can Use; India may now be the world leader in deploying satellites that assist practical work on the ground.” by Jason Overdorf, October 18, 2008, http://www.newsweek.com/2008/10/17/space-you-can-use.html
The satellite network is the fruit of an effort begun in 1982 to connect India's remote—and often roadless—regions to radio, TV and telephone networks. By 2002, ISRO had expanded satellite TV and radio coverage to nearly 90 percent of the country, up from 25 percent. India's investment in Earth observation satellites over the years comes to only about $500 million per satellite, about a tenth of the cost of its Western counterparts. After introducing a satellite service to locate potential fish zones and broadcasting the sites over All India Radio, ISRO helped coastal fishermen double the size of their catch. For the government's Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission, begun in 1986, satellites have improved the success rate of government well-drilling projects by 50 to 80 percent, saving $100 million to $175 million. Meteorological satellites have improved the government's ability to predict the all-important Indian monsoon, which can influence India's gross domestic product by 2 to 5 percent. Next, ISRO plans to roll out satellite-enabled services to hundreds of millions of farmers in India's remote villages. In partnership with NGOs and government bodies, it has helped to set up about 400 Village Resource Centers so far. Each provides connections to dozens of villages for Internet-based services such as access to commodities pricing information, agricultural advice from crop experts and land records. ISRO's remote-sensing data will also help village councils develop watersheds and irrigation projects, establish accurate land records and plan new roads connecting their villages with civilization as cheaply and efficiently as possible. One ISRO partner—the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation—has used satellites to conduct 78,000 training programs for more than 300,000 farmers in 550 villages, teaching them about farming practices like drip-and-sprinkle irrigation, health-care awareness programs for diseases like malaria and tuberculosis, and information about how to access government services. Using satellites to guide reclamation of 2 million hectares of saline and alkaline wastelands is expected to generate income of more than $500 million a year.