We’re told the film industry picks up during times of recession. But science fiction, it seems, isn’t reserved only for the big screen. The Indian Space Research Organisation said on Tuesday that it received an endorsement from the Planning Commission for $2.5 billion to launch a manned space flight by 2015.
This means that India could join an elite group that sends men to space, presently only the US, China and Russia.
India might just be playing catch-up to its rival Asian powerhouse, China. It remains to be seen if this will trigger a space race akin to the legendary competition between the US and the former USSR to reach the moon.
While some call space programmes just nationalistic hubris, space-related research can resonate throughout India’s economy—and not just in its imagination. Satellites are increasingly important for national security and telecommunications. And some of the former major hubs for space-related research in the US are now broader centres of scientific learning.