ISRO, a Potential world leader needs reformation to become world no.1

The history has been evidence that the inquisitive countries like Portugal, Italy, UK in the 14–16th century who showed interest in exploring the world and sea routes later invaded the world and brought many precious resources from there to increase their wealth exponentially. These countries later became the world leaders for the next centuries and kept exploiting the world. Some might think that it would be irrelevant to talk about history when we are discussing about the future that is our space but today its quite important to learn from the history and be vigilant so as to not occur again and if it occurs again we shouldn’t be the sufferer.

The space is vast and mysterious, we know very little about it. The curiosity always compelled human to explore the space. It all started with the launch of “The Sputnik-1” by the Soviet Union. Soon after that many countries like USA,China,France,Japan, EU jumped into the Space mission to explore the space. Although India was not so strong economic nation those days but it also did not delay much to jump into space. All credit goes to Vikram sarabhai, Homi Bhaba and some notable scientists who made it possible to make Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). India soon engaged in solving the mystery of the space. As from the past we have seen it started from the exploration of sea routes to invasion, the situation is turning similar in space too. Day by day we are losing our natural resources and soon in the future the country owning most resources will be the superpower. Space is having plenty of natural resources starting from helium to platinum.

Many laws have been formed by UN and treaties have been signed by many countries to protect the space like the “Outer space treaty of 1967 , Moon Treaty of 1979 and Partial test ban treaty (PTBT) of 1963”. These treaties manly focus on not exploiting the resources found in space, not testing nuclear bomb in outer space .The international laws says that asteroids and other celestial bodies found in space cannot belong to any human and all experiments done should be focused for betterment of mankind and Earth. But these laws are inadequate for today’s era as there is advancement in technology. In recent year US senate with the help of COMSTAC ( commercial space transportation advisory committee) passed a bill that any citizen shall be entitled to any asteroid resources but cannot own the asteroid as mentioned in the outer space treaty. This means any US citizen who brings anything from space owns that. Many countries are now shouting for mining rights in deep space. Many private companies like DEEP SPACE, SPACE X, Planetary Resources, Virgin Galatic have been started working on space mining. Recently Planetary Resources , an asteroid mining company has already sent a probe from ISS with the ambitious goal of turning asteroid water into rocket fuel. Not only the private sectors, governmental organisations like NASA, CNSA are working on mining and colonization purpose.

The world has gone too far. Where is India’s stance? Recently ISRO have shown its maturity in this field by successfully launching Chandrayan , Manglayan , GSLV MK III, CARTOSAT series and developing its indigenous cryogenic engine. But is this sufficient enough to win the race? We are still counted as minor space player. Today the foreign players are developing technologies for mining the resources but we are still in spacecraft launching business. Even the launching business is at stake because Antrix , ISRO’S international commercial arm charges rs. 21 lakh/kg ($34000/kg) whereas SPACE X which successfully tested its reusable launch vehicle would bring down the cost to $1000/kg. ISRO till now doesn’t have any human rated launch vehicles and is therefore unable to conduct any manned mission. Like its said no one remembers the second one , so till how many days will we be proud of becoming the 5–6th nation to get the success? We have to lead the world.

We have huge population, fast growing economy , talented brains and latest technology so where lies the lacuna? The lacuna lies with the economy. India being a developing country spends less that 1% of its GDP in science and technology. ISRO launches satellite for PSUs and govt organisations like Dordarshan which pays very little to it. According to ISRO scientist and ex-chairman U R Rao they face huge pressure of getting success every time. The media and the politicians puts huge pressure without knowing the technicality. ISRO gets very less amount as compared to NASA and other space agencies. The ISRO scientists get low wage for which brain drain is occurring.

Space is today of many importance. It’s not only important for exploring but also for colonisation, resource mining, Earth navigation , remote sensing, weapon development like laser and electron beam gun which is not restricted in PTBT ,saving Earth from asteroids and meteorites which once took the lives of dinosaurs, and even for space touristic purpose. Space related achievements will not only bring international status but also will bring wealth and job opportunities. Huge wealth is lying outside the earth so let’s grab it. But its not possible with this pace we need to do more.

How can we become the space leader?

As from above we came to know the importance of space so our Govt should spend more on this sector. Although our FM Arun Jaitley gave the department of space a whopping 23% increase in its budget but its not enough. To raise more funds we have to privatise this sector as it was also said by Vikram sarabhai. We should always boostup our organisation even at the time of its failure. We have to develop our R&D and also increase the manpower. I hope soon we will be able to take ISRO to the pinnacle and make our nation proud by overcoming the lacuna.