Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday called upon the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) to develop a South Asian Association of Regional Corporation (SAARC) satellite.
Addressing space scientists and engineers at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota after witnessing the successful launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C23) in the morning, Modi asked the space community to take up the challenge of developing a SAARC satellite that can be dedicated to our neighbourhood as a gift from India.
Modi spoke to the scientsits for about 20 minutes in English, occasionally switching to Hindi. He said that India must share the fruits of its advancement in space technology with the developing world, and with neighbours in particular. Modi referred to the famous Kargil martyr Captain Vikram Batra's slogan 'Yeh dil mange more' and urged India to develop a dedicated SAARC satellite.
"India's age-old ethos is rooted in the concept of the whole world being one family (vasudhaiva kutumbakam). India's space programme is driven by a vision of service to humanity, not a desire of power. India must share the fruits of its advancement in space technology with the developing world, and with neighbours in particular," he said.
Incidentally, India is the only country in the region that builds and launches satellites. "We can be proud of the Indian space programme, which is fully indigenous, developed in the face of great international pressure and hurdles. Space is a domain where we have pushed beyond mediocrity and achieve excellence," he said.
Modi called upon the space community to proactively engage with all stakeholders to maximise the use of space science in governance and development. "We must develop more advanced satellites and expand our satellite footprint. India has the potential to be the launch service provider of the world," he said.
Modi interacted with scientists and engineers at the mission control room and congratulated them after the landmark launch.
"All the credit goes to you scientists. Even today our programme stands out as most cost effective. There is this story of our Mars mission costing less than Hollywood movie Gravity. I have heard that Mars mission's expense is lesser than Gravity. Our scientists have shown the world a new paradigm of engineering and the power of imagination."
— PM Narendra Modi
Mangalyaan, India's Mars Orbiter Mission cost Rs 450 crore ($72 million) while the Sandra Bullock-starrer was reportedly cost $100 mn to make.
Picture perfect launch
At 9.52am on Monday, Isro's workhorse, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C23), blasted off in yet another picture perfect launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
The PSLV launched five foreign satellites, including its main payload, French Earth Observation Satellite SPOT-7, which weights 714 kg. Of the other four satellites, two are for Canada, one is Germany's and one for Singapore.
Isro, whose commercial arm Antrix enters into agreements with foreign agencies for satellite launches, did not disclose the commercial launch fees.
However, experts in the field of space say that nano satellites can cost upto Rs 5 core to launch while bigger satellites can cost around Rs 90 to 100 crore. Nasa and European space agencies are said to charge between Rs 10 crore to Rs 250 crore.