Small steps to Mars are a big leap for Indian companies


By Reuters

Indian companies that built most of the parts for the country’s recently launched Mars mission are using their low-cost, high-tech expertise in frugal space engineering to compete for global aerospace, defence and nuclear contracts worth billions. 

1 1India’s Mangalyaan spacecraft was launched last month and then catapulted from Earth orbit on Dec. 1, clearing an important hurdle on its 420 million mile journey to Mars and putting it on course to be the first Asian mission to reach the red planet.

The venture has a price tag of just 4.5 billion rupees ($72 million), roughly one-tenth the cost of Maven, NASA’s latest Mars mission. Two-thirds of the parts for the Indian probe and rocket were made by domestic firms like Larsen & Toubro , the country’s largest engineering firm, Godrej & Boyce, and state plane-maker Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

While such companies have a long way to go before they can attract big business in the commercial space sector, years of work on home-grown space projects are helping them carve out a niche as suppliers of precision parts for related sectors like defence, aeronautics and nuclear energy. More info