India’s Space Program: In the Service of Mankind

Update, August 24, 2014, 5:08 p.m. Pacific:

Indian Space Research Organization logo definitely samples "Start Trek."  (Wikipedia)

The Indian Space Research Organization logo definitely samples “Star Trek.” (Image: Wikipedia)

Update, March 21, 2:25 p.m. Eastern: As per this source, Mangalyaan was doing fine at the beginning of this month, and they will be making the second of four planned trajectory corrections early in April.

Until just a few minutes ago, when I read a rather lighthearted Register article, I didn’t know India was going to launch a Mars mission tomorrow.

It is scheduled for 1438 Indian time, which I believe is 0908 UTC and 0408 Eastern, which means I can watch it online here before work (if there are no delays).

All I know is what I’ve read online (above links), but I really like their English-language website front page. It gives me a feeling about space flight and exploration that I haven’t experienced for many decades, in fact, not since I was a kid, watching a brand new “Star Trek” on TV and hearing about the real thing on the nightly news.

And the people behind the ISRO aren’t a species of “Trekkies.” It’s for real.

The tone of the quote from Dr. Vikram Sarabhai that they use on their welcome page tells me they won’t be upset by the flippant tone used in the Register – there’s business to attend to. India is in Space to stay:

There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation. To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose. We do not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the moon or the planets or manned space-flight. But we are convinced that if we are to play a meaningful role nationally and in the comity of nations, we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society.

Thanks, India, for reminding the world that all of us – not just the scientists, soldiers and capitalists – are going to Mars, someday soon.

What will it look like after we become the Martians?

What will it look like after we become the Martians?

Update, November 5, 5:55 a.m.: OK, I missed it live, but here is the YouTube video.

Go, Mangalyaan!

By the way, as an American, I’m just as proud that they also used an English countdown for the last 10 seconds as I am about the “Star Trek” vibes – our space program has indeed inspired the world in the peaceful use of powerful technology!

Categories: Random thoughts

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