Feeds

back to article Mixed bag of motors lifts India's budget Mars shot

India's budget* Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) last week thundered heavenwards from Sriharikota spaceport atop a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), en route to a rendezvous with the Red Planet in September 2014. PSLV-C25 blasts off. Pic: ISRO PSLV-C25 blasts off. Pic: ISRO Weighing in at 500kg, plus 850kg of fuel, the MOM …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Silver badge

You'd think they would address the extreme poverty in their country, the starving children, the caste system before they spent money on this.

I've seen it first hand.

1
14

Can we please give this tired pseudo-racist straw-man argument a rest, and congratulate them on progress?

Realistically, there are poor people everywhere, and £45M is spare change in a country that big. In fact, it's around 4 1/2 pence per person.

Should America sort out its poor before sending technology space-wards? What about Russia? China?

Should the UK have sorted out all it's poor before extending outwards? Surely exploring the Americas was a complete waste of money when there were peasants starving in the fields, right?

Should the Victorians have sorted out the poor before investing in the industrial revolution?

Did you fill your petrol tank this morning, while there are 10,000 dead people yet to be burried in the Philippines? How uncaring are you?

21
4
LDS
Silver badge

How much a Bollywood star earn? How much an Indian cricket player earn? How many poor will throw away some of their money to watch them, actually transferring money from the poors to the rich ones?

The same is true here in Europe - what is better, spend 100M for a soccer player, or spend that money in science and engineering? Why spending money in science and engineering is bad, throwing them away in sports is good? Kicking a ball along a grass field is better than exploring the space? At least science and engineering really fuel the economy - soccer what fuels? Clubs and prostitutes?

5
0
Bronze badge

>Realistically, there are poor people everywhere...

Not quite on the same scale. It's frightening to see it up close.

>Should America sort out its poor before sending technology space-wards?

Water and sewage yes, and except for people being deliberately remote they have done.

>What about Russia? China?

Yes, they're basically totalitarian regimes that treat their people like slaves though.

>Should the UK have sorted out all it's poor before extending outwards?

No, because there was a clear financial return from doing so, which is what drove it.

>Should the Victorians have sorted out the poor before investing in the industrial revolution?

That actually did "sort out" the poor to some extent.

You seem to have confused things with clear technological, commercial or scientific value with what is in truth a vanity project designed to intimidate Pakistan and warn off China.

2
4
Silver badge

@AndyS

Doesn't look like a pseudo-racist argument from my point of view. Giving the money for education would far outweighs the benefits of sending a space rocket to the moon. How many of these children have needlessly blighted lives because a Government wants to raise it's image in the world.

Being poor is relative to where you live, the poor here still have toilets and phones and food and TV's.

Having seen children begging in the streets, victims of polio, female infanticide, starvation etc first hand, and having worked for humanitarian aid agencies I can see no justification.

It is easy to look to the past for examples, but we are now better than that, we have moved on, more educated.

It is also easy for you to pontificate on this from your nice comfortable existence, let's clap India for going to Mars, while the infant mortality rate in the country is almost 50% per 1000 births in India.

As for filling my car this morning, yes I did, but I have also been on the ground in places that I'd not wish on my worst enemies.

47 million might seem like pocket change to you but it goes a long way in a country such as India, it could provide an education, inoculations and support for 10,000..

So you keep clapping and applauding these countries that feel a space rocket or nuclear weapons are more important than people.

1
2

Re: @Lars

Lars, I accept the horrendous situation that many in India live in - it sounds like you've got a decent amount of experience working in that sort of environment, and I deeply respect that. I've worked a year or so in some similar places, and I know the effects of poverty. I'll put the rhetoric aside and explain why I disagree.

There are two things to consider here. Firstly, a country is lifted above the poverty line not by aid (which can reduce short-term disaster situations) but by an improved economy. Granted, aid can help stimulate and repair an economy to the point where it is functioning, but domestic industry, education, learning, infrastructure and opportunities for people to excel are vital for a country to improve as a whole. Advanced science projects like this do a massive amount to improve the economy. They give Indian scientists a reason to stay in the country, they stimulate local high-tech industries, they improve aspiration of Indian students.

The second is the straw-man argument that a country can only do one thing, or another. It's possible to do both. India is already spending many times as much on sanitation, infrastructure and other projects to directly improve the lives of the very poorest. Can they can continue working on these things, which cost many billions of pounds, while also stimulating the economy (remember, all that money stayed in India - it wasn't burned, or spent on US missiles) and making genuinely amazing achievements? Yes.

This thing cost about half as much as one jet fighter, or about 20% of a brand new A380. Really, saying they can't afford that is like telling someone on income support in the UK that their children can't have an ice-cream once in a while. It's just not relevant.

Please don't interpret this as unsympathetic to the poor. I just think condemning this frankly incredible achievement is akin to telling a child off for painting a masterpiece, because they've still got Maths homework to do for next month. There's time and space for both.

4
0
Bronze badge

Re: @Lars

>The second is the straw-man argument that a country can only do one thing, or another.

Firstly the straw man is the suggestion that anyone is saying they can't do both, but they have failed to deliver on sanitation and even just shelter for a signifcant proportion of their population.

Secondly most here are Brits, from a country that actually deliberately gave up space exploration because of the cost (sadly, but some things are more important).

0
2
Silver badge

India's space programme has brought real benefits to the country in terms of improved resource monitoring, weather forecasting, mineral prospecting and telecommunications. Building those satellites and space probes employs thousands of the brightest people in the world, helps create a thriving high tech business and inspires the next generation of kids to improve their prospects.

Good luck to them.

2
0
Raj

Let's talk relative hypocrisies then.

The US was sending white men to space while a few hundred miles away, it was lynching black men at the same time.

The Russians were sending men to space while the expended rocket stages probably landed on a few Siberian Gulag corpses.

The UK went about 'fighting for freedom' in WW2 while it starved a few million Indians in Bengal in the process, and simultaneous beat up Hitler for killing a few million more.

1
0
Bronze badge

> The US was sending white men to space while a few hundred miles away, it was lynching black men at the same time.

Yes, the '60s space race was about nuclear supremacy and resulted in victory in the cold war by bankrupting the soviet union - a deeply unpleasant regime. Was the US right to focus on the soviet union whilst being deeply racist? No, they should have ditched the racist tripe then got on with it.

> The Russians were sending men to space while the expended rocket stages probably landed on a few Siberian Gulag corpses.

Yeah, properly sick regime.

> The UK went about 'fighting for freedom' in WW2 while it starved a few million Indians in Bengal in the process, and simultaneous beat up Hitler for killing a few million more.

The UK didn't "fight for freedom" in WW2, it fought for survival, and it was bloody close. As for the famine, do the Japanese not deserve some credit for creating the problem in the first place?

0
1
Anonymous Coward

But...

Should the UK (and others) be giving £100 millions in aid whilst they fund this and nuclear weapons programs?

Nuclear power makes sense, weapons no. Similarly, space exploitation makes sense (comms, etc.), but exploration?

Just because the UK (and others) didn't get priorities right all the time in the past doesn't mean others shouldn't learn and avoid making the same mistakes.

0
2
Silver badge

Re: But...

How naive are you in the world politics? Let me enlighten you.

"Should the UK (and others) be giving £100 millions in aid..."

I'll rephrase that so you understand the bigger picture

"Should the UK (and others) be giving £100 millions in bribes, to allow them to fly military missions over it's airspace, attack residents in it's borders and allow large western business operate with impunity whilst treating the country like a dumping ground"

Now hope that helps clear it up a little.

4
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: But...

MIstakes ? What mistakes?

Imagine the tirckle down eceonomic effects of $74 million in knowledge, engineering excellence, local industry boosts, and finally national pride. Can you quantify that?

On the other hand, think of the Billions (yes BILLLLLIIIIOOOONNNNS) wasted in Afghanistand and Iraq. What have we achieved?

Idiot.

10
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Down

Re: But...

Similarly, space exploitation makes sense (comms, etc.), but exploration?

There would not have been that space exploitation without space exploration! In the 1950's, just getting a simple satellite into low orbit was cutting-edge exploration.

3
0
LDS
Silver badge

Re: But...

"Nuclear power makes sense, weapons no. Similarly, space exploitation makes sense (comms, etc.), but exploration?"

Someone should have said that to Colombo, de Gama, Magellan, Cook, etc. etc.

0
0
Raj

Re: But...

This is British local poltiics. The ISRO has been around since the late 1960s. The INCOSPAR existed before that. It sounds like Brits suddenly woke up and went 'ZOMG! We've been sending money there for decades and they've been launching rockets!'

Here's the reality. Britain has no control over what India does with its money. That's been true since 1947. You can stop the peanuts you send as aid if you want, but you've shown no ability to get your political process together to do so. While you continue to send the money over, we'll continue to treat it as reparations for colonial plunder and use it as our own interests dictate.

On my part, the pleasure of being able to peruse the amount of angst in the Brit press, alone is well worth the money spent on this project.

1
2

Re: But...

Nuclear power is a RESULT of nuclear weapons research.

The Governement didn't go "Hey cool concept, generate electricity from a nuclear reactor". They went "let's make a big bomb. What? to get better, more effective fissile material to make 'bigger' bombs smaller we need to build a nuclar reactor to refine the material to a more effective level? That's gonna be expensive, but look, as a byproduct of making nuclear weapons material we can also generate electricity!"

0
0
Bronze badge

Old arguments

Maybe Korolev was right in his arguments with Chelomey , non hypergolic fuels are a better choice...

1
0

As said on #HIGNFY last friday. India can get to Mars for 0.01% of the cost it will take us Brits to get from London to Birmingham. Please someone correct me on the figures cost I cannot believe that is right

3
0
Bronze badge

What's an order of magnitude in a joke?

Somebody on #HIGNFY did indeed say that the Indian Mars mission is costing 0.01% of the bill for the HS2 link from London to Birmingham. Of course they are wrong - it's 0.1% (about £42m vs £42bn, not £420bn). With such cavalier disregard of mere orders of magnitude in costing, the writers of Alexander Armstrong's autocue joke might just be moonlighting from a job in MOD weapon procurement.

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: What's an order of magnitude in a joke?

But the point is that the UK would spend more than £40m on the inquiry into why we shouldn't have a Mars mission.

The only way that India will feed the poor is if their economy moves forwards, and even "vanity" projects (and I'm not sure this can be called a vanity project) can help this because the skills are developed at home and stay at home. They didn't just fire £40m into space, the money was spent on technology from Indian companies employing hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

The economic value of nuclear weapons is less clear, but lots of countries, including the UK, have decided that having nukes prevents someone else's foreign policy becoming your domestic policy.

4
0
Silver badge
Happy

Re: What's an order of magnitude in a joke?

Couple of things - first India has a much lower cost of labour. If we offshored the majority of our government spend to India to take advantage of this, I'm pretty sure the public would hit the roof. Secondly, I'm sure we could quite easily build a one-off rocket to Birmingham from London that carries zero passengers and doesn't have to return, but I'm not sure the benefits would stack up.

0
0
Silver badge

And for a lighter look at hypergolic compounds..

http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/things_i_wont_work_with/

FOOF.

1
0

Re: And for a lighter look at hypergolic compounds..

Added that blog to my bookmarks. Good stuff.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: And for a lighter look at hypergolic compounds..

Derek's hilarious blog entries about dangerous compounds pointed me at John Clark's amazing book "Ignition!" on liquid fuels. Look for a pdf online, it's out of print. After reading it, stories mentioning fuels and oxidizers make a lot more sense! UDMH and Nitrogen Tetroxide is a good choice.

Some Flourine compounds (though I doubt FOOF, you couldn't even get it in a tank probably) were tried as oxidizers, but they had a bad habit of dissolving tankage, rocket motors, and rocket scientists. Plus you wouldn't want to be downwind of the exhaust if they did work.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: And for a lighter look at hypergolic compounds..

I just liked name FOOF - so onomatopoeic :)

1
0
Trollface

Budget Design

Reading through the rocket technology types for each stage and the staging time lines it sounds like they also saved some money by doing their preliminary design and engineering work in Kerbal Space Program

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Budget Design

Not really. I don't see the masses of fuel transfer pipes and modified asparagus staging leading to a rocket that looks less like a rocket and more like a pancake.

Still want to see a real rocket use some asparagus staging though. If only for the geekgasm.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Budget Design

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy will do it. They call it "propellant cross-feeding" though

http://www.nss.org/articles/falconheavy.html

1
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Fuels...

Many nations are moving away from UDMH towards Kerosene/LOX...

Rest easy, comrade Korolev - you were right.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Fuels...

Kerosene is RP-1, right? RP-1/LOX is what got the Apollo first stage off the ground, not exactly new technology.

Hypergolic fuels are popular because they make for smoother starts, a "hard start" in a big rocket engine sometimes leading to what Clark called "spontaneous catastrophic self-disassembly". RP-1/LOX isn't hypergolic, so restarts are more difficult (you need a seperate ignition system).

If I remember the reasoning, RP-1 has the advantage of being dense, so it's great for a first stage where restarts aren't necessary and you want to burn it fast (The Saturn V first stage burned something like 16 tons of propellant a second!). So, great for getting you off the ground, but not so great for the clever orbital maneuvers the Indian spacecraft is pulling off.

0
0
Bronze badge
Pint

Vindaloos In Spaaaace....... - missed title oportunity

Why did Vulture Central miss such a good title opportunity?

Humour aside, kudos to the Indians for the mission so far. Hope the ending is less abysmal than our own ill fated Beagle.

1
0
This topic is closed for new posts.