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Asia Minute: India’s Growing Space Ambitions


India’s space program has taken another step forward this week. The country successfully launched a communications satellite which puts the space agency in select company. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


A thundering launch late Monday local time in southern India sent a three ton communications satellite into space.

It’s the heaviest satellite the Indian space agency has ever tried to put into orbit. Engineers say the engine pushing the satellite into place has been under development for 15 years.

India’s government hopes to use the occasion as an advertisement of sorts. The Space Foundation estimates the global business of space to be worth more than $320 billion.

A big part of that market is launching massive communications satellites.

Right now, those who can launch three-ton payloads include the United States, Russia, China, Japan and the European Space Agency, and now India.

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ambitious plans for space.

Just last month, India launched a communications satellite making a dozen KU band transponders available to neighboring countries.

Earlier this year, the country launched a series of smaller satellites—more than one hundred in a single mission.

India also wants to put humans into space, and officials have a timeline in mind—by the year 2024.

That would make India the fourth country to do so following Russia, the United States, and China.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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