India’s Chandrayaan-3 Lands on the Moon’s South Pole and we Should all Celebrate

ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 lands on the moon and deploys rover. Image credit: ISRO.

India joins China as the only two nations to have landers successfully land and operate on the Moon in the 21st century. Others, Israel, Japan and Russia have all failed, proving how difficult the task is at the moment.

India’s space program has been on the rise for some time now with consistent government spending though there has been some tightening the last couple of years. India’s government allocated approximately US$1.67 billion for this years space budget down about 8% according to the Economic Times of India.

There was a time in the mid-2000’s when Canada’s space program was ahead of India’s with respect to spending and competitiveness. That’s clearly no longer the case. In fact it was the period between 2000-2010 that India’s share of contribution to global GDP growth surpassed Canada and has been ahead ever since.

Canada of course has been the little brother if you will, to our neighbour the United States. And when it comes to large programs Canada generally flows with what’s happening with our neighbour. That’s how Canada finds itself a partner in the Artemis program and how Canada has relied on the United States for launch access.

India though has no neighbour or relationship such as Canada and the United States. So while Canada and India space program’s were similar in size at one point, their paths have taken very different approaches.

India decided early on that it was going to join the small group of nations that had indigenous launch capability. That decision has enabled India’s space program to send several missions to the Moon and one to Mars. While India developed launch capability for satellites and other spacecraft, the country has also been steadily making progress on its Gaganyaan program, developing a human spaceflight capability.

India now boast the 5th largest economy by gross domestic product as reported by the International Monetary Fund and just this year surpassed China as the most populous nation in the world.

It’s clear India sees itself as a leading global space program and is backing that up with some impressive accomplishments in the past decade. So we should all celebrate this latest achievement. And let’s not minimize this latest achievement. No nation has ever landed on the lunar south pole. And the Moon’s south pole is where much of the activity will be for the next few decades as countries look to use the suspected frozen water resources there.

As for Canada, it will eventually join the list of nations to successfully land a rover on the Moon, with plans underway. And maybe someday we’ll have our own indigenous launch capability allowing the nation to plan, lead and launch missions to other planetary bodies.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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