..... Assisted shrilly and loudly by the Energizer Bunny propagandoos:
Chandrayaan-1 successfully launched.
From "AIAA News Update"
The New York Times (10/22, Sengupta
) reports, "India launched its first unmanned spacecraft to orbit the moon early Wednesday, part of an effort to assert its power in space and claim some of the business opportunities there." According to the Times, "Talk of a space race with China could not be contained, even as Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, was due to visit Beijing later in the week."
(THAT'S WHAT DECIDED THE SCHEDULE!! NOW IT BECOMES CLEAR!!
While the article does note that Chandrayaan-1 "can potentially yield commercial gains for India's space program," the mission "is not without domestic critics. Bharat Karnad, a strategic affairs analyst who frequently finds fault with the Congress Party-led coalition government, called the mission a 'grandiloquent' effort designed to catch up with a far more advanced Chinese space program." Karnad also criticized it for the financial cost.
IOW, because China has launched a few rockets, Indians should sit around scratching their musharrafs and saying "Bhavitavyam Bhavedeva!" ... and , of course, test a few megaton nukes. These "experts" make me
The AP (10/22, Rabinowitz, Borenstein) adds, "As India's economy has boomed in recent years, it has sought to convert its new found wealth...into political and military clout and stake a claim as a world leader. It is hoping that a moon mission -- coming just months after it finalized a deal with the United States that recognizes India as a nuclear power -- will further enhance that status." The mission, along with the upcoming Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), will make the "most comprehensive maps" since the Apollo era, according to Scott Pace, director of space policy at George Washington University. Pace also said, "We need better maps," if NASA is to eventually place a lunar base in the southern polar region.
(Oh, no we don't, Mr. Karnad can buy them cheaper from the Chinese if we set off a few new clear bums).
AFP (10/22) notes, "Officials said the lift-off...was a 'great success', with the rocket placing the craft into a transfer orbit around the globe." It will reach lunar orbit in 15 days. India "is hoping the mission will boost its space program into the same league as regional powerhouses Japan and China." The launch itself was "carried live on most Indian television channels." (er... does that happen with Chinese launches?)
Bloomberg News (10/22, Shankar) reports, "Today's launch and the two-year orbit is preparation for landing a craft on the moon, said [Debasish] Ghose, who works at the [Indian Institute of Science's] Department of Aerospace and Engineering." That mission would be in conjunction with Russia, "India's main partner in space programs." Russia "has provided manufacturing and design technology. Most of India's space programs are developed by its own scientists."