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posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the Applied-SiddhÄnta dept.

Popeidol writes:

"In November, India took the next step in their space program by launching their Mangalyaan Mars orbiter. The orbiter won't arrive for a while yet, but they've managed to get some public attention for a different reason: the fact that the entire mission costs only 75 million dollars, substantially less than the budget for the hit movie 'Gravity.'

While the question of wages is bound to come up (it was only 15% of the budget of the project), I think we can all agree that bringing down the cost of interplanetary space travel to a level attainable by the ultra-rich is a good step forward."

 
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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Fluffeh on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:26PM

    by Fluffeh (954) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:26PM (#1982) Journal

    Yes and No.

    The fact that they can *get* something up into space for a total budget of $75 million is a pretty outstanding fact in itself.

    Having said that, it's not a true $75 million. That money isn't taking into account R&D/Work done prior to this. By that I mean they had already spent/bought much technology relating to rockets and the like. I don't want to take away from the fact, but the headline reads a bit sound-bitey. That's like me getting a cubesat, paying $100k for it to be stuck into someone else's rocket and blasted into space - then claiming that I got a satelite up for $100K.

    The annual Indian space budget is actually around a billion dollars. This figure of $75 million seems to be some cherry-picking of the accounting books.

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  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by frojack on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:09AM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:09AM (#2062) Journal

    Yes, the R&D work, done by American, Russian, and ESA are a huge HUGE step up for India, as are the years of work developing the (now) off the shelf computers, and hardware that can be pressed into service for this task.

    But as China found out recently when Jade Rabbit simply died with no definitive cause, getting off the ground, and, I dare say, getting landed is only a tiny portion of the problem.

    We should wait and see if the Indian craft is still operational when it gets through a couple years worth of nice hard radiation. Will anything still work?

    But I don't begrudge them the use of the technology and the knowledge hard won by the US and Russia for Mars missions. After all, is that not how it is supposed to work?

    Mankind progresses not by re-inventing everything with each generation, but by building upon the works of the past with the knowledge gained in the past.

    It would perhaps be better if India coordinated their efforts to fill voids in the systems already in place. After all another mediocre camera orbiting the planet may not be what is needed. Even by India.

    But there is bound to be some meaningful way they can contribute to the world effort and get something of value in return.

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    • (Score: 1) by bigjimslade on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:26AM

      by bigjimslade (212) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:26AM (#2069)

      except you can't really build off of previous work unless it is declassified and released to the public. space knowledge, even simple stuff, can not be exported to other countries, or published, without extremely harsh treatment from the u.s. govt.
      this is why you see very slim cooperation between esa, nasa, russian, space programs. it may look like cooperation from the outside, but everyone is absolutely restricted from sharing even simple data.
      there are documented basic interfaces between systems, which is how a russian rocket can launch an american satellite. but that's it for data sharing.

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      • (Score: 2, Informative) by frojack on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:48AM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:48AM (#2074) Journal

        Quote: space knowledge, even simple stuff, can not be exported to other countries, or published, without extremely harsh treatment from the u.s. govt.

        Now that is simply not true. NASA (and people who work for NASA) are one of the biggest publishers of scientific papers in multiple branches of science.

        Seriously do you think the ISS would remain functional without massive cooperation and data sharing?

        NASA's Policy is clearly spelled out:
        http://www.nasa.gov/open/plan/science-data-access. html [nasa.gov]
        http://science.nasa.gov/earth-science/earth-scienc e-data/data-information-policy/ [nasa.gov]

        European Space Agency has just about all their Earth data on line:
        https://earth.esa.int/web/guest/data-access/how-to -access-eo-data/earth-observation-data-distributed -by-esa [esa.int]

        Russia? Well, I don't read Russian so I can't comment.

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        • (Score: 1) by bigjimslade on Saturday February 22 2014, @04:01AM

          by bigjimslade (212) on Saturday February 22 2014, @04:01AM (#4675)

          well i should not have said 'simple stuff'. how about 'space stuff'. maybe i consider the classified stuff 'simple', which was incorrect.

          i was not referring to published information. yes, of course, nasa publishes a lot of space data. do you have any idea how well that is scrutinized before it gets published? there are layers of people that have to sign off everything that gets published. so yes, the stuff that is published is 'space stuff' but well scrubbed.

          the real 'meat' of space exploration is held tightly to the chest by everyone at nasa and other space companies. i've been in it and i've been through the export/publishing process. it's not fun and the real cool stuff is not released in any form. too bad, actually.

          now the interface information can flow freely between countries and companies. i can say to russia, "we have 10 12mm bolts for you to connect to and here is their layout pattern and you tighten them to 20 ft/lbs". but, i can't tell them why we have 10 bolts. or why they're 12mm bolts. or why you need to tighten them to 20 ft/lbs. or why that particular layout pattern. it's quite maddening.

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    • (Score: 5, Funny) by Pav on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:11AM

      by Pav (114) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @02:11AM (#2085)

      What?! So their Germans are better than our Germans?! ;)