India is striving to make lunar history by landing the Chandrayaan-3 on the Moon’s south pole. News of Russia’s crash on Sunday has been nerving, and an inspiration at the same time as Indian space officials tried to downplay competition with the Russians. Russia’s Luna-25 crashed from orbit.
If India succeeds, the Indian nascent space industry would be bolstered. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, India has privatized space launches and is looking to open the sector to foreign investment. India is aiming for a five-fold increase in its share of the global launch market within the next decade.
Riding high on Chandrayaan-3’s success, yet to be seen, India’s space industry will definitely seek to capitalize on a reputation for cost-competitive engineering. For the lunar south pole landing, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) had worked on a budget of $74 million. On the other hand, the US space agency NASA has a $93 billion budget for its ambitious Artemis moon programme through 2025.
Ajay Lele, a consultant at New Delhi’s Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, said the moment this mission is successful, it raises the profile of everyone associated with it. And when the world looks at a mission like this, they aren’t looking at ISRO in isolation.
Bethany Ehlmann, professor at California Institute of Technology, said landing on the moon is hard. She highlighted that the moon, for the last few years, has been eating spacecraft. It is indeed a risky, and very costly affair. SpaceX has a $3 billion contract to develop the Starship rocket for its satellite launch business, as well as to transport NASA astronauts to the moon’s surface. Astrobotic and Intutive Machines, two US space firms, are building lunar landers for the moon’s south pole by 2023-end or 2024.
Besides Russia’s failure, India also proved unsuccessful in its last attempt in 2019. But so far for Chandrayaan-3, things are looking very promising. Since its July 14th launch, it has not experienced any glitches. The ISRO has everything in place for a successful landing.