“We will not depend on others,” declared Raj Shecker, 21, an engineering student. “It’s just an Indian feeling.”
Forty years after the launching of a small American-made rocket marked its humble beginnings, India’s national space program bills itself as thrifty space exploration for the common man.
With a budget of only $450 million a year — one-thirtieth of NASA’s $15.5 billion annual budget — India has 13 satellites in orbit, produces some of the world’s best remote imaging satellites and is planning to send a satellite to the moon by 2007 or 2008.
But unlike space programs in other developing countries, including Brazil, low costs have not meant catastrophic launching failures. Only 6 of India’s 37 satellite launchings have failed.