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India's Mars Orbiter Cost Only 11 Percent of NASA's Maven Probe: Reports

RIA Novosti

15:27 25/09/2014

NEW DELHI, September 25 (RIA Novosti) – India's Mangalyaan orbiter reached Mars' orbit Wednesday, becoming the first spacecraft from an Asian country to reach the red planet, but the country hit another record by making the cheapest space probe so far, costing 11 percent of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Maven probe, CNN Money reported Thursday.

'India has cheap indigenous technology,' Ajey Lele, a researcher at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, was quoted by CNN as saying. Lele also noted that cost-saving innovations 'came out of sheer necessity' for India.

While India spent $74 million on Mangalyaan, NASA landed its Maven space probe on Mars last Sunday at a cost of $671 million. The European Space Agency's (ESA) Mars Express, which entered Mars' orbit in 2003, cost $386 million.

India's success with Mangalyaan has put it ahead of countries like China and Japan in interplanetary explorations.

'China is past competing with India, but here [in India], we are ahead, that's why they are keen to cooperate with us,' Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, senior fellow in space-security studies at the Observer Research Foundation was quoted saying by The Wall Street Journal.

The comment came after the Chinese president's visit to India last week. The two countries agreed to collaborate in the research and development of satellites for scientific experiments, remote sensing and communications.

India has launched 74 satellites since 1975 according to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) with the latest mission putting India at the forefront of research on minerals found in space.

India spends about $1.2 billion a year on its space program, according to ISRO, while NASA had a budget of $17.5 billion for the year ending September 30.

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