Space: India trailing China in the long march

Discussion in 'China' started by huaxia rox, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. huaxia rox

    huaxia rox Senior Member Senior Member

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    Space: India trailing China in the long march | Russia & India Report

    If there is a space race between India and China, it isn’t a close one. Beijing sent its first astronaut into space in 2003 and in June 2012 Liu Yang became the first Chinese woman to enter the final frontier. In comparison India’s first manned space flight is unlikely to happen by the 2016 deadline.

    The gap of more than a decade between the two Asian giants isn’t as worrisome as it seems. After all, the Chinese aren’t unduly concerned about America’s 40-year head start. Rapid advances in technology can compress development time frames, making it easy for large nations to catch up.

    What should worry us is New Delhi’s cavalier attitude towards such a vital sector. Paucity of funds has been a key factor holding back India’s manned space flight programme. The $1.6 billion allocation to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in this year’s budget was the highest ever, and is only a meagre increase over last year’s $1.45 billion. That amounts to just 3 percent of the funding earmarked by the US space programme.

    Compare that to the $5 billion in developmental aid pledged to Afghanistan. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out which investment – space or Afghanistan – will pay better dividends.

    At any rate, it is scandalous that a country with a GDP of over $4,500 billion has a shoestring space budget from which ISRO has to pay its 16,000 employees – before it build rockets or moon rovers.

    Incidentally, the extraordinary success of India’s first expedition to the moon was achieved for the ridiculously low cost of $83 million whereas a similar America mission in 2010 was tagged at more than $700 million.

    Space – on the back burner

    One probable reason for such shockingly low funding is that India’s highly indigenised space sector doesn’t offer scope for king-sized kickbacks, as is common in defence deals. Space, therefore, is a low priority area for the political leadership.

    The degree of step-motherly treatment meted out to ISRO can be judged from the fact that the scientists and engineers behind Chandrayaan, India’s first deep space mission, which discovered water on the moon, were conspicuously missing from the national awards. And adding insult to injury, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s doctor, with no known contribution to the nation, got an award.

    The Indian space programme has also been hamstrung by decades of US-led sanctions. Unlike in, say, telecom, where Indian companies can import entire systems from European or Chinese companies, in the space sector ISRO has had to reinvent the wheel. This virtual boycott increases the time frame for manufacturing satellites and rockets.

    This is where India’s leadership has let the nation down. Western countries denied India high technology for reasons of self-interest, but what was New Delhi doing during the heady days of India-Russia bonhomie? Indeed, if Moscow could be relied upon to come to India’s aid in the event of war – as it did in 1971 – what prevented New Delhi from asking for the transfer of space technology? Didn’t Mao Zedong kickstart China’s space programme with lavish help from Moscow? I believe it is our warped sense of Gandhian self-flagellation that prevented us from circumventing those discriminatory sanctions.

    Nations beg, borrow and steal the technology they lack. In the 18th century, the British learned how to make better rockets, ships and steel from India. More recently, captured German scientists largely formed the basis of rocketry at NASA. (The joke was that in the race to put the first man in space, the Americans lost despite working the Germans 24 hours a day because Stalin was flogging the Russian scientists 48 hours a day.)

    Missing the sale of the century

    India missed the sale of the 20th century in 1991 when Russia desperate for cash was hawking the crown jewels of its space industry. Key technologies which sent the first man into space and made Russia the world’s leading space faring nation, and which were locked away in secret cities, overnight became available to the highest bidder. Heat shields, re-entry capsules, cosmonaut suits, orbital docking systems, miniature nuclear reactors – Moscow had them all on sale.

    NASA seized the opportunity to buy 150 of the world’s largest rocket engines, which were built in the early 1970s for the aborted Russian moon landings. These rockets will be at the core of its post-Shuttle programme. An American administration official said back then, “A few years ago, we were trying to steal these technologies. To miss the opportunity would be insane.”

    However, it was China that carted away everything it could lay its hands on. Just 12 years later, Beijing was able to send a two-man crew into orbit. There is no evidence that India’s leadership was even aware of all this.

    China: Boost phase

    Liu Yang’s space docking mission is significant because it is the first step in building China’s permanent space station. In a briefing paper for the Massachusetts-based Union of Concerned Scientists, Gregory Kulacki explains that the Chinese have a 30-year plan to construct a national space station. “The plan emerged from a contentious internal debate that began in March 1986 and engaged hundreds of Chinese experts in many fields, as well as the leadership of numerous Chinese institutions,” he says.

    Interestingly, when the Chinese political leadership finally decided to approve the initial phase of the plan, space professionals believed they would be latecomers to an expanding human presence in low Earth orbit. Ironically, things have panned out differently – China will be the only country to have a permanent presence in space when the International Space Station, operated mainly by the US and Russia, is abandoned and de-orbited in 2020.

    To be sure, in 1989 when former American president Ronald Reagan launched the grandly named Star Wars programme, at first the Chinese military and communist party leadership feared they would get left behind in the tit-for-tat battle between Washington and Moscow.

    However, after the initial jitters, the Chinese refused to be swayed by emotions. Perceived international status was important to the Chinese leadership and military brass, but as Kulacki points out, “that status was conceived as a demonstration of the political will to build a comprehensive and competitive national space infrastructure, not the specific ability to put people in space, or to send them to a specific destination, such as the moon”.

    Indeed, China’s desire to be recognised as a major space-faring nation, measured by both national capability and commitment to human spaceflight, was the deciding factor.

    India: Low orbit

    India’s space programme has been a matter of tremendous pride for its people. Flush with Chandrayaan’s success, ISRO engineers want to make a bold play for the heavens. But there’s a problem – the PSLV rocket that propelled Chandrayaan to the moon is not big enough to transport humans. That is the job of the heavy lift GSLV, India’s biggest rocket, on which rests the fate of India’s manned missions. The GSLV programme has been plagued by a series of launch failures, which makes it the sort of vehicle you would rather let your mother-in-law ride.

    It is a bizarre situation where India’s future astronauts are undergoing training, near Bangalore, but the rocket that will take them to space is far from ready. The serious glitches involved in the GSLV programme could have been easily avoided if India, instead of trying to reinvent everything, had acquired Russian technology back in the 1970s – through the back door.

    Currently, China’s massive state-run space exploration programme and America’s post-NASA private players are preparing to rush into the final frontier. Even as the stage is being readied for the colonisation of the moon and Mars, India continues to operate in low earth orbit.
     
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  3. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    I disagree. This tendency of buying cooked food is what we need to fight. That start from scratch made us learn a lot of things. Same with the Cryogenic engine.
     
  4. J20!

    J20! Senior Member Senior Member

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    Some where in Li Na's imagination
    It's unfair to compare the space capabilities of a country with a 7.2 trillion dollar GDP with another of 1.6 trillion dollars. Obviously one can outspend the other with ease, and considering how expensive space programs are, you really cant fault India here...
     
  5. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    What a sense of having bigger balls ! I appreciate that .
     
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  6. hit&run

    hit&run Elite Member Elite Member

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    Chinese might have achieved less in doing what West did 50 years back but their propagandist would use this symbolic dick measuring to impress dhoti shivering Indians. Chinese race ends at borders of her neighbours, I mean they can only impress those who are vulnerable to be impressed. They are doing what a typical 'No g'day no hello' Chinese does while driving in western countries. He will buy a costlier car and then drive it straight without knowing what is happening around him in his or other lanes; just to make statement that he owns a costlier car.

    India has different priorities and doctrines, one good example was Chandaryaan -I, which with collaboration with other countries was one of the most productive moon mission ever in terms of moon mapping, unlike Chinese symbolic probe crash landing with no shared data whatsoever with anyone.

    Given provided resources and irrespective of many good or bad decision making {on cryogenic technology (R&D priorities on Kerosene fuel etc.)}, Indian achievements are outstanding and exemplary.

    Tomorrow may be the doomsday for China given their urgencies and statement makings but not of India.
     
  7. satish007

    satish007 Senior Member Senior Member

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    Some India space projects are making money,Chinese are stilll spending.India china should bhai bhai and cooperate exploit space
     
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  8. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    What symbolic crash landing? Anyone enlightens me on that. I thought India did something like that.
     
  9. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    China isn't the one doing the comparison, we have our own agenda and we are sticking to it.
     
  10. trackwhack

    trackwhack Tihar Jail Banned

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    NREGA is more important than space
     
  11. G90

    G90 Regular Member

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    India trailing China in any given performance benchmark, I just wonder why someone, mostly foreigner news reporters of indian decendants, keeping comparing or mentioning the two in the same sentence, self-promoting much?
     
  12. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    Obviously, you have some accounting figures about both countries' space program, do you mind sharing with us?
     
  13. huaxia rox

    huaxia rox Senior Member Senior Member

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    1 prc is indeed doing what west and soviet union did 50 yrs ago but so????what is india doing now????something the west can achieve in 50 years in the future??

    2 how cpc is doing propaganda on this is debatable.....1 example is after prc conducted its 1st ASAT test and believed the west would down play the event just like what the US used to do to itself it was the west who raised this issue to mountain high and prc finally admitted the exisitence of the project.......so whos doing prapaganda???and what prc is supposed to do???u say it u r doing prapaganda u dont say is u r hiding and disguising stuff not transparent???

    3 how Chandaryaan -I is a good example??......if it were in prc it would be called failure coz it ended up with having some sort of over heating problems and u lost the probe while chang e-1 performed very well from the very beginning to the very end and even made controlled manuver after 1 year of obitting the moon with engine restarted.....anyway the point is i believe india cannot make instruments needed onboard your moon probe so u need NASA ones to play the role while prc can make all we need so we dont need any NASA help .....of coz i m not here to say who is better coz only when man on the moon people can judge......

    change 1 2 3 4 etc r just for testing some techs with no man on board.....more like before shenzhou 5 manned spacecraft we got shenzhou 1-4 unmanned.....u can also ask what were we doing back then with all the symbolic missions and the answer is we were testing the related techs so we can send our man into the outer space......

    4 why tomorrow a dooms day for prc????u never let something real take place by keeping saying it unless u r the god....
     
  14. huaxia rox

    huaxia rox Senior Member Senior Member

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    before u can become a country like the US u can always find this unfairness and that unfairness when u r involved in any sort of comparisions with anyone else but if u can become a country like the US what do u need to be affraid of when comparisions strike????the only thing u care to say is 'bring it'......and i guess our goal is clear.....to work hard to become a country close to the US..........
     
  15. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    It is funny how these two paragraphs completely negate the point the author was making.

    India and China have a 20 year difference which we supposedly cannot catch up while the 40 year difference between China and US can be nullified with advanced technology. LoL. Did the author forget we have easier and more access to the so called "advanced technology" than China is?

    As for that thing about Soviet collapse and the sale of their technology. It wasn't a priority at the time because our space program is not meant for dick measuring contests. The primary purpose of ISRO, even today, is to support the civilian populace. It's no wonder that we have the largest civilian constellation of remote sensing satellites in the world. For that purpose we wanted access to cryogenic engines and the Russians provided with the same.

    So, while the Chinese were running around trying to get their first man in space, an entirely useless capability looking at the expected scientific goals of the time, India has taken a much more sensible step by step approach in a way that we are planning a manned mission to the moon in the 2020 timeframe after having achieved human space flight in 2015-16. So, between a human space flight and a manned inter-planetary landing, we may achieve it in 5 years. Comparatively China plans a manned lunar landing in 2025, 22 years after achieving human spaceflight.

    India to spend �1.7bn sending man to the moon - Telegraph

    China plans manned moon mission | Science | The Guardian

    First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. - J F Kennedy

    The latest after India could be the ESA with plans in 2024, while China's is an estimated 2025.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2012
  16. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    Instead of reflecting on why India lacks the ability to put a man into space, Indian members are dismissing Chinese manned mission as dick measuring contest, that is the logic of losers. i am quite sure if it was India who put a man into space, no one was gonna say that.

    China hasn't unveiled any specific plan for manned moon mission, so no contesting for that.
     
  17. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Like I said, there is an objective for launching a manned mission. There are experimental objectives to be achieved when doing it. The Chinese orbital station is one such objective. The 2003 mission played no purpose beyond a demonstration. Don't forget what I said in the other Chinese space thread, what China did with the station is the pinnacle of technology when it comes to orbital space technologies.

    I said so in order to criticize the author who said India won't be playing catch up with China simply because China launched a man into space while China will catch up to the US because of this so called "advanced technology."

    India lacks an ability to place a man into orbit only because it serves no purpose as long as it is not part of something bigger. When the time comes our plan will include more than just a manned space flight.

    It is like the Soviet US race. The Soviets achieved first manned space flight. Even in 1964 they had no plans of placing a man on the moon. But the US did it first. Replace Soviet with China and US with India, we will see history repeating itself. This is a true dick measuring contest with actual experimental objectives implemented like finding the traces and composition of water discovered on the lunar surface.
     
  18. badguy2000

    badguy2000 Respected Member Senior Member

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    forget it!
    the ultimate reason why CHina can catch up with USA while India can not do with CHina is that CHina has a much healthy economy and larger real fisical revenue than USA and India.
     
  19. ice berg

    ice berg Senior Member Senior Member

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    1. China is not USSR and India is not US. Not by a looooooong shot.
    2. Atm it is China who got a clear goal. Otherwise it will be India with a national competitive infrastructure and China playing the catch up.
    Without a strong economy to back you up, the race may be over before it starts.
     
  20. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Money plays a part, but it depends on objectives as well.

    According to the article I posted, India will supposedly spend $2Billion to land a man on the moon. So, it depends on where the money is spent. For eg: If China is willing to spend twice the money on another skylab instead, then that does not mean they will go to the moon regardless of spending $4Billion on space.

    It was just a metaphor, not literal. We are better.
     

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