India not only landed on the moon, but did so on a very small budget
India’s lunar mission program Chandrayaan-3 is going according to plan. The lander turned on the scientific instruments and unloaded the lunar rover, which is operating normally.
The most interesting feature of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, according to many analysts, is the very low cost of the entire program. According to Reuters, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) spent only 6.15 billion rupees on the entire mission, or about $74 million.
The Independent compares this amount to the cost of Hollywood space movies. Gravity – $100 million, The Martian – $108 million, Interstellar – $165 million.
Reuters points out that only one Falcon 9 launch costs about $67 million, and in fact, it will take until 2025. NASA has to spend an astronomical $93 billion on the Artemis program. And yes, Artemis is about landing a man on the moon, but the landing itself is still far away.
In fact, India has great space ambitions. The country claims third place in the space hierarchy, intending to push Russia to fourth. This became apparent after the shameful failure of the Russian Luna 25 mission.
India is going to increase the number of launches by 5 times (!), taking Russia’s place in the market of low-cost space services. In addition, India has its own space observatory, a program to explore Mars, Venus, asteroids, a program to develop methane engines, heavy and reusable rockets, etc.
Finally, India has a manned space program. The first flight of the Gaganyaan capsule is scheduled for 2024, and the first manned flight is scheduled for 2025. The cost of the manned program is also relatively low – $1.5 billion, including the development, manufacture, and testing of the Gaganyaan spacecraft.
Well, it looks like the top three space leaders for 2030-2040 have already been formed, and Russia has no place in this club. Fortunately.