Sure, everyone’s heard about the Chinese Space Program and the Manned Missions they’re planning, right? And the Moon Base they want to build? Whether as the butt of jokes around the world, or the subject of excitement (mainly on the part of the Chinese), it’s hardly escaped notice. But I hadn’t heard about India’s program until today.
Indian Prime Minister Announces Mission to Moon
Bangalore – Aug 20, 2003
The Chandrayan-1 mission, announced by the Prime Minister yesterday (August 15, 2003) during his Independence Day address to the nation, represents India’s foray into a planetary exploration era in the coming decades.
Today, India is confident of undertaking a complex space mission because of its indigenously developed launch vehicle and spacecraft capabilities. This mission will provide a unique opportunity for frontier scientific research.
Chandrayan-1 is expected to be the forerunner of more ambitious planetary missions in the years to come, including landing robots on the moon and visits by Indian spacecraft to other planets in the solar system.
The Chandrayan-1 mission envisages placing a 525-kg satellite in a polar orbit 100-km above the moon. The satellite will be launched using a modified version of India’s indigenous Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The spacecraft will initially be launched into Geo-synchronous Transfer Orbit, and subsequently manoeuvred into its final lunar orbit using its own propulsion system.
Wow. It looks like near space at least could become a crowded mess once the tech gets developed to make missions like this more affordable. I’m sad to say I’m a little nervous of how China and India will handle sharing space, considering they can’t even agree on their shared national borders here on Earth. Can you imagine them fighting over the moon? Then again, space is so big, maybe once they got a little further out there’d be no point in fighting over this asteroid when that one over there is ripe for the taking? Who knows, though. I just don’t want to see megacorporations taking on the policing, because, well, who will police them?
Well, anyway, speculation aside, there are a lot of articles available regarding all kinds of space and astronautics work and plans from all over the globe, over at Encyclopedia Astronautica.