Important milestone for Indian space history: Scientists

    By IANS,

    Sriharikota/New Delhi : The successful launch of the Rs.450-crore Mars mission Tuesday is an important milestone for the country and it will be written in golden letters in India’s space history, scientists said.

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    India is the first Asian country and the fourth entity after Russia, the US and the European Space Agency (ESA) to leap into interplanetary space with an exploratory mission to Mars, about 400 million km from planet Earth.

    Amitabha Ghosh, chairman, Science Operations Working Group – Mission Operations at the NASA Mars Exploration Rover Mission, said it’s a significant milestone for India.

    “It is important to develop capability and also try to do something unique and not something done before. The real moment for India will come when it enters into Mars gravitation,” Ghosh told a TV channel.

    Renowned space scientist K. Kasturirangan commended the way Indian scientists were able to complete the mission within 15 months of announcement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

    “We have always had excitement moments in ISRO and this is an incredible excitement moment. I think first of all given the 15 months’ time to take the mission to first level is something unbelievable for space programme of this level… something we all should be proud of,” Kasturirangan said.

    “It will become an important milestone for India when it completes 300 days and enters mars orbit,” Kasturirangan said.

    P. Kunhikrishnan, project director, PSLV programme, said the mission will help in capturing and igniting the young minds in India and globe besides helping in scientific area.

    “The silver jubilee PSLV mission will be written in golden letters in space history of India,” said Kunhikrishnan, who is responsible for seeing that the rocket completes the mission successfully and the satellite is correctly injected in the designated orbit.

    Professor Yashpal, founding father of ISRO, lauded India’s effort to chart its own path by launching the mission and not following others.

    “There is a whole lot of programmes going on in the ISRO and the best part is that you are making your own path and not following anyone else’s path,” he said.

    Professor U.R. Rao, who had conducted the feasibility study of the Mars mission, said: “It is indeed a great day for India as something that has gone out of our own cradle. I can proudly say India has become mature. I hope we get very good results.”

    “I was talking to some scientist friends in the US and they told me why Indians are shouting about Rs.500 crore spent on the mission, it is the biggest day for the whole of India.”

    “Indians can be proud after spending Rs.5,000 crore on Diwali firecrackers, which don’t go beyond 10 metres and with Rs.500 crore, we are going to Mars,” said Rao, former ISRO chairman.

    The spacecraft will enter the Martian orbit in September 2014.