DIEGO GARCIA WRITES– Rakesh Sharma, a former space traveler, and India’s first astronaut, stated at a conference on April 5th, 2019, “The Indian programme has advanced both in space science and space applications, and has developed unique low-cost space technologies”.  

As India continues to position itself as an important international player in space technology, it is moving towards increasing its capacity and capability to use space technology products and services not just for societal applications but to support commercial space activities and pursue diplomatic as well as security objectives.

India may well be the next space leader. ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) has been globally recognized for its low-cost programmes. And so, India has proven its success — on March 27,  Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that Mission Shakti, the country’s most recent space mission, was on a par with the United States, Russia, and China.

India’s ultimate goal for space exploration is to create a better future for human civilization. Space industry leaders realize that humans desperately need alternate energy resources,  so its missions are aimed at studying the Moon and Mars— possible energy resources for future use on Earth. Sharma states, “Space exploration should be aimed at unifying the people and with a central point.”

To this end, the country aims to make space innovations of interest to everyone.  In the second half of May, 108 students from various parts of the country will visit the ISRO for 15 days to gain exposure to space, science, and technology so that they can plan careers in the field of space technology. The purpose is not only to promote higher education but to establish, in students’ minds, India’s future in space technology.

Now, not everyone thinks positively about India’s space technology advancements. Concerns have been raised about India’s most recent mission to space, earlier in March. According to research from Analytical Graphics Inc. (AGI), a dozen fragments from India’s March 27 anti-satellite test reached altitudes above 1,000 kilometers, meaning that some debris will stay in orbit much longer than originally estimated.

This problem has made some countries, including the USA, wonder: is India is ready to become a space leader? Given all the evidence, it looks like yes…and soon.  

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