Refleksi: Wow! India kirim misi ke bulan, NKRI kirim misi ke mana? Sabar! Subur! Mungkin karena di India sudah unta dan oleh karena itu bisa kirim misi ke angkasa raya, Indonesia sedang menciptakan fasilitas untuk unta dan keledai, jadi sabarlah. Insyaalloh kita juga bisa keatas tanpa roket.
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/JJ22Df02.html Oct 22, 2008 It's all go for moon-struck India By Raja Murthy MUMBAI - A 52-hour countdown began on Monday morning to India's first mission to the moon, with the unmanned spacecraft Chandrayaan-I being revved up to launch the country's expanding space ambitions. These include a manned moon mission by 2015, a robotic Mars visit by 2012 and even a moon colony as a base for interplanetary exploration. The 1.3 tonne, cube-shaped orbiter Chandrayaan-1, which looks like a hurriedly gift-wrapped parcel in gold paper, will be blasted off from the Sriharikota space port near Chennai in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday, if weather gods keep the northeast monsoon rains away. Unlike previous moon missions from Earth, Chandrayaan-1 will make history as the first lunar craft to undertake a comprehensive close mapping of the moon, instead of focusing only on specific regions or aspects. Chandrayaan, meaning "moon vehicle" in Hindi, will "prepare a three-dimensional atlas [with a high spatial and altitude resolution of 5 millimeters to 10m] of both the near and the far side of the moon", according to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). That India should be shooting for the moon at a time when the global economy is trembling fearfully speaks not just for the country's impressive economic stability, but also the quality of its space scientists. They have ensured that Chandrayaan-1 also makes history as the least expensive moon ambassador from Earth. Chandrayaan-1 cost US$74 million, cheap if compared, for instance, to Japan's $279 million Selene (Selenological and Engineering Explorer) moon probe, which took off from Japan's Tanegashima island space port on September 14, 2007. Moreover, $20 million of the $74 million Chandrayaan-1 cost went into valuable reusable infrastructure, such as building a trio of Earth-stationed trackers of moon-mission data - the Deep Space Network, the Spacecraft Control Center and the Indian Space Science Data Center, all located at Byalalu, near Bangalore in the south. "We are spending hardly 0.5% of our national budget on our scientific programs, and what we are spending on Chandrayaan is hardly only 3% of our budget over the last five years," ISRO chairman Madhavan Nair told media. Nair, who hopes to establish the world's first space institute with a four-year graduation course, which would lead to an ISRO job, often mentions being pleasantly surprised at a Madras School of Economics study five years ago that revealed how India gets a $2 return for every $1 invested in its space program. India's space budget of $1 billion is one-tenth that of the US's National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and less than half of China's space program. Nair, however, does not mention that the study also pointed out that the average salary of ISRO scientists is one-eighth that of the US and Europe. The low labor costs are a major reason for India's comparative advantage in satellite production and launch costs, said the Madras School of Economics study. More credit is due to Indian scientists as lower pay has not induced them to leave for higher-paying jobs abroad, or compromise on quality in producing advanced technology such as in Chandrayaan-1 to fly on a five-day journey to the moon and orbit it for two years. With India's Chandrayaan, China's Chang'e (named after the Chinese goddess of the moon) and Japan's Selene moon probe, Asia has earned a considerable edge in humanity's early steps into exploring what lies around the moon and beyond. "The real space race is in Asia," acknowledged the headline of a Newsweek article in its September 29, 2008, issue, and it went further in its latest issue declaring India to be a world leader in practical applications of space technology which can improve the quality of life on Earth, such as assisting in communications, agriculture, weather forecasting, rural development and telecasting. Besides the nationwide celebrations that will follow on Wednesday if the launch successfully takes off, more substantial carrots dangling for the moon expedition include the prospect of mining lunar minerals such as magnesium, aluminum, silicon, calcium, iron and titanium. Added delights include the possibility of finding deposits of uranium and thorium to feed nuclear power plants on Earth. So the global scientific community is also expected to keenly track Chandrayaan-1, which also hopes to locate helium-3 on the moon, considered an environmentally clean nuclear fuel. Chandrayaan-1 will firmly establish India as a leading space power. As ISRO chairman Nair pointed out, India has so far managed to send satellites to a 36,000 kilometers distance in a geo-stationary orbit, but the moon mission will carry India's national flag tricolors to a distance of 400,000 km. Also aboard Chandrayaan-1 are 11 scientific instrument payloads, including from the US, Germany, Sweden and Bulgaria. "The ISRO is not charging any money for the payload," said Sridhar Murthy, executive director of Antrix, the marketing division of the ISRO. "Chandrayaan-1 is purely a non-commercial, scientific mission." Murthy told Asia Times Online that India's moon mission is part of a space program expansion that includes increasing the capacity of its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-3) rocket to carry larger satellites (it can presently launch a 2.5 tonne satellite), launching a new ocean observation satellite and advanced communication satellites. While Nair's claim of India having a technologically superior space program to that of neighboring China might be hotly debated across the border, India has already launched 50 satellites since its first satellite, Aryabhata, was sent up on the Russian launch vehicle Intercosmos on April 19, 1975. Significantly, the low-budget Chandrayaan-1 ensures India is fast consolidating its reputation as a key cost-effective player in the growing stakes in global space commerce. India has indigenously developed two satellite launch vehicles to carry payloads, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) used for launching IRS satellites and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicles (GSLV). On April 28, India became the first country to send 10 satellites in one launch when the PSLV-C9 took off from Sriharikota with India's CARTOSAT-2A and IMS-1 satellites, as well as eight micro-satellites from other client countries. Chandrayaan-1, too, will get a ride from India's workhorse space taxi, the 14-year-old, 45-meter tall, 295-tonne Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), in an upgraded version the PSLV-C11. The Chandrayaan-1 payloads include the US's Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar (MiniSAR) from the Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University and Naval Air Warfare Center, Bulgaria's Sub KeV Atom Reflecting Analyser (SARA) from the Institute of Space Physics, Germany's Near Infra Red spectrometer (SIR-2) from Germany's Max Plank Institute, Lindau, Bulgaria's Radiation Dose Monitor Experiment (RADOM), and the US's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) from Brown University and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Not to be missed is the juicy irony of an Indian spacecraft carrying a NASA payload - the US led the global ban of high technology to India's space and nuclear program for decades after it tested its first atomic bomb in 1974. This, from the owner of the world's largest nuclear weapon arsenal, came as a blessing in disguise as Indian scientists brilliantly worked out indigenous technology that is now advanced enough for the US and European countries to have a piggyback ride in South Asia's first moon mission. (Copyright 2008 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing