India’s frugal space programme a ‘wake up’ call for Chi

Beijing, Feb 20: India’s successful launch of putting a record 104 satellites into orbit is a wake-up call for Chi’s commercial space industry which has a lot to learn from New Delhi’s frugal space programme, a Chinese daily said on Monday. The state-controlled Global Times, which last week commended India for the feat but also stressed Chi’s superiority in the field, was in its Monday editorial all praise for India’s economic launches of satellites.

The influential newspaper noted that the competition with India for commercial space launches cannot be ruled out.

“India’s successful launch of a record-breaking 104 satellites into orbit could serve as a wake-up call for Chi’s commercial space industry and there are a number of lessons for the country to learn.”

The daily said what made India a fierce competitor in the global market for commercial rocket launch services was the launch of the 104 satellites, 96 were Americans.

“The South Asian tion’s achievements are largely driven by its low price advantage, a weak point for Chi’s commercial space sector,” it said.

The daily said despite developing into a major player in the space industry, Chi’s commercial space sector was still in its “infancy.”

“Many of the world’s satellites are made in or use parts from the US. However, satellites and components made in the US are prohibited from being exported to Chi, making it very difficult for Chi to get contracts for commercial satellite launches with other countries.”

“Its independent research and indigenous manufacturing of parts and components for satellites will help Chi bypass restrictions imposed by the US. Chi has made great progress in the field but its customers are mainly from developing countries.”

“Chi is likely to continue to focus on developing countries where price will be an important factor in customers’ decisions of choosing launch partners.”

“Competition with India for commercial space launches may be inevitable, and the most urgent action needed for Chi to expand its market share is to reduce the cost of putting satellites into orbit.”

Over the years, India is increasingly being talked about launching cheap yet successful space missions. So much so that India spent $74 million on Mars mission in 2014, a budget way below than Hollywood’s thriller “Gravity.”

“Chi’s space sector, developing rapidly as an important part of the country’s defence industry, has focused less on cost control in the past few decades. The country should make a fundamental transformation to allow some institutions in its space sector to run like a business instead of as government-backed research bodies.”

“The Chinese commercial space sector has lagged behind the global market and now the country has to learn from the experiences acquired by other countries, India included, on how to commercialize rocket launches.” (IANS)