back to article MOM: CHEAP Mars ship got it right first time. Nice one, India

India has become the first nation to achieve a successful insertion to Mars orbit on its first attempt, after an epic 10-month trek by its cunning Mangalyaan (aka Mars Orbiter Mission, or MOM) spacecraft. The mission that marked India as a genuine deep-space power is also a miracle of low-cost space exploration, setting the …

  1. An(other) Droid

    Go MOM...

    Can we now start wailing and whining about poverty in India, unwanted aid, yada yada yada?

    1. raving angry loony

      Re: Go MOM...

      Sure. How about... wonder how long before they start forcing their poor to emigrate to Mars? Your typical Indian farmer could probably terraform that sucker in a generation.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. stuartnz

      Re: Go MOM...

      That's a given. I'm expecting 40% of the comments on this article to be in that vein, if past comment threads are any guide. Simple, unalloyed compliments for a noteworthy technical accomplishment seem to be as difficult for many commenters here as said achievement was for the ISRO.

      1. Danny 14

        Re: Go MOM...

        In reality $74M is spent by other countries dining diplomats.

        1. alwarming

          Re: Go MOM...

          - 0 million : UK aid to India (2015, maybe)

          - 22 million : luxury Yacht

          - 26 million : burning man (2013)

          - 40 million : Katie price wealth (reality tv)

          - 60 million : low end private jet

          - 65 million : Kim Kardashian wealth (reality tv)

          - 74 million : Mars attempt India // Not just cheap labour but also the method.

          - 110 million : London police budget

          - 110 million : Sachin Tendulkar networth (cricket player)

          - 140 million : (In)famous Gareth Bale transfer to Real Madrid.

          - 175 million: Hollywood blockbuster cost

          - 210 million: India Space Agency revenues // Its not just willy waving.

          - 236 million: Trump Golf Course

          - 270 million: Germany homeopathy market

          - 350 million: A Boeing jet.

          - 450 million: UK aid to India (2013)

          - 500 million: India space budget (2013)

          - 600 million : Bono networth

          - 650 million: Burj-al-Arab

          - 1,000 million : India Cricket revenue

          - 1,500 million : Canada winter olympics

          - 1,900 million : Commonwealth games India // Hmmm....

          - 2,470 million: Mars Rover

          - 8 billion: BBC revenues.

          - 13 billion: TCS revenue (IT outsourcing)

          - 14 billion: London Olympic games.

          - 16 billion: India Education/yr

          - 16 billion: Lakshmi Mittal (Richest Londoner)

          - 19 billion: India food subsidy budget

          - 21 billion: Mukesh Ambani (Richest Indian)

          - 34 billion: South Korea Defense budget/yr

          - 38 billion: India Defense /yr

          - 68 billion: India Tech exports

          - 160 billion: Worldwide space market. // Prize

          - 640 billion: US defense budget/yr

          - 1,700 billion: India GDP/yr


          Complied this as a result of a debate during intial MoM launch, but never posted it. Posting here with some updates.. sources for all data is internet, so take them with a pinch of salt.

          As far as the meaning of the aid goes, it's simply a way for nations to lubricate future trades and relations. Unless you are paying for a major portion of a nation's budget, you have no say on how they run their country (ie based on the aid). Think of it as 100 quid that your rich neighbour puts in your birthday envelop. Maybe he hopes to boink your mama in future, but that doesn't allow him to question how your house is run.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Go MOM...

        Only if said Martian Orbiter is powered by Linux.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Go MOM...

      I'm sure the people employed by the ISRO, that wouldn't have the job they have now will concur wholeheartedly.

  2. PleebSmash


    Here's what they got for $74 million

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge
      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Congrats

        Fifteen kilo payload... hmm... I'm sure they could have squeezed a paper aeroplane in there somewhere...

        1. Killing Time

          Re: Congrats

          Hmm… relatively small payload and no doubt depending on the existing deep space communications infrastructure, that will significantly contribute to the cost savings.

          SPB will be doing it in a few years. Start the Kickstarter now Lester!

  3. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Only $74 million?

    Did they outsource much of the work?

    But seriously, good job!

    1. Danny 14

      Re: Only $74 million?

      nope, they made a big song and dance over how their scientists were working 18 hour day shifts to get it completed.

      1. DiViDeD

        Re: Only $74 million?

        Added to which India has the finest mathematicians, astronomers and computer scientists on the damn planet.

        Well done to all involved

        1. DiViDeD

          Re: Only $74 million?

          Replying to my own post. How self absorbed is that? I was just wondering if the down voter could step forward and explain why s/he beieves that the finest mathematicians, etc are NOT to be found in India. Maybe I missed something

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. cray74

        Re: Only $74 million?

        "Either labor in India is soooooooo cheap or the others are soooooooo corrupt...or both."

        There are other factors, like inefficiency.

        However, it comes down to Indian labor being inexpensive. When most of your supply chain from engineers down to riveters is earning a pittance, then the parts are cheap. A Western nation aerospace company is going to be tapping into a huge chain of contractors and subcontractors where every company bills at about $100 per labor-hour.

  4. Mark 85

    Excellent job!!!!

    If you're allowed... have a cold one --------->

    If not, sit back and feel smug as you guys did on the first shot what no one else has done. And for a whole lot less cash.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Excellent job!!!!

      As it happens I was re-watching Michael Wood's excellent programmes on Indian history last night. This seems to be the latest in a very long line of amazing ideas coming from that area. Much respect.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any comment from NASA?

    It's all gone quiet over there...

    1. FrankAlphaXII

      Re: Any comment from NASA?

      That might be because its the middle of the night over here and no US Government employees besides the Military and some specific emergency response people are at work.

    2. RyokuMas

      Re: Any comment from NASA?

      To quote the guy from NASA who commented when Sputnik 1 was successfully put into Earth orbit:

      "We're all asleep"

    3. baseh

      Re: Any comment from NASA?

      It will cost 74M$ to craft a comment

    4. Slacker@work

      Re: Any comment from NASA?

      No comments from NASA as they are too busy drafting up the outsourcing agreement.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Nice package...

    and well delivered! India has a fine tradition in the maths, sciences, and engineering. They've done good and a couple of those instruments are very interesting. Again, congratulations.

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Nice package...

      Al -gebra is Indian stuff repackaged by Arabs

      They may have invented place number notation to, indicating the lack of a power of ten which became the Zero

      Read from " One to Zero"

      Here are the previous posts about poverty, grants, space

      1. baseh

        Re: Nice package...

        Reminds me of an oldie:

        How many kinds of people are?

        Answer: 10 - those that count in binary and those that don't.

        1. JJKing

          Re: Nice package...

          Sorry but you are wrong baseh, there are 11. Those that count in binary and those that don't and those who don't care! :-)

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        Re: Nice package...

        ""They may have invented place number notation to, indicating the lack of a power of ten which became the Zero

        More relevant in this regard is that the optimal rocket nozzle shape (what most people call a "bell") is actually known as a "Rao" nozzle, after the Indian who invented it.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can NASA outsource to India?

    Saves money for the corporations doing it, though perhaps the rovers wouldn't outlast their design life by quite so much.

  8. eJ2095

    So thats where they are now basing all the UK and Mobile Tech support Call centers.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Indian call centers on Mars - where it takes 20 minutes for the reply to your question...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Call centre?

        "Indian call centers on Mars - where it takes 20 minutes for the reply to your question..."

        Sounds like an improvement to me ...

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Par for the course. It already takes 20 minutes to get to talk to someone in the first place !

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heaven for everyone

    Apart from cost, the rare demonstration of efficiency from an otherwise lazy economy.

    Feasibility study started: 10

    Project approval: Aug 12

    Assembly started: Aug 13

    Launch: Nov 13

    Nice to see the first non-fair race in the orbit.

  10. Jacksonville

    Congratulations India,

    on your visit to Mangala (or Merrikh or Angaraka).

    Now go find some methane....

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Congrats, India

    Not bad at all.

  12. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

    Confusingly phrased

    Could somebody clarify what's meant with the "first nation on first go" comment?

    Do they mean that the managed a successful mission to Mars without having a few probes go boom or disappear into deep space? Or have all other successful missions had to do a few loops before successful orbital insertion?

    I assume it's the former, would just like clarification from those who know these things better.

    1. Shrimpling

      Re: Confusingly phrased

      They mean most space agencies have an unsuccessful Mars mission before they have a successful one. Only 51% of all missions aiming for Mars have made it.

      I would like to point out that the first Mars Probe sent by the ESA (Mars Express) did make it and is still in orbit, although i technically they aren't a nation so their statement is correct.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Confusingly phrased

      Their very first probe made it to Mars to do science. That's pretty damn impressive, considering how hard it is.

      As opposed to Beagle 2, which was A) dropped off by ESA, B) never heard from again, and C) Britain's not tried again.

      Or Mars 1960A, Mars 1960B, Sputnik 22, Mars 1, Sputnik 24, Zond 2, Mars 1969A, Mars 1969B, Kosmos 419, and Mars 2, which were the first 10 Soviet attempts. Mars 3 was the first successful landing and returned science.

      Or Mariner 3, which was the first American attempt. Mariner 4 was a successful flyby and returned science.

      For anyone playing Kerbal Space Program, you know the point of the missions are returning science!

      1. graeme leggett Silver badge

        Re: Confusingly phrased

        Comparing apples and oranges?

        An orbit-only mission to a double orbiter and lander mission 40 years earlier.

  13. RyokuMas
    Thumb Up

    "Get your ass to Mars"

    Yup, it kinda feels right when you say it with an Indian accent, too...

    Nice one India.

  14. Tim Bergel
    Thumb Up

    Massive congratulations, India

    for an extremely difficult task achieved both quickly and cheaply.

  15. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Venturesome Alien Forces Fielding Dark Web Enterprise GetGo .....dDutch Initiative

    Welcome, India.

    And now to show others how easy IT is whenever Commanding Creative Cyber Control doesn't upset and deny, degrade, disrupt and appears ignorantly and primitively designed to seek to dominate and/or destroy the natives or is Project Mangalyaan not an Advanced IntelAIgently Designed Enterprise for Dark Web Masters Tripping the Light Fantastic and Truly Monumental?

    There be Changed Days and Changed Ways and Means with Memes for EMPowering Zeroday Vulnerabilities which Crash Systemically Corrupt and Perverse SCADA Operating Systems.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Venturesome Alien Forces Fielding Dark Web Enterprise GetGo .....dDutch Initiative

      Quick nurse I need another dried frog pill. I'm starting to understand amanfromMars

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Venturesome Alien Forces Fielding Dark Web Enterprise GetGo .....dDutch Initiative

      There be Changed Days and Changed Ways and Means with Memes for EMPowering Zeroday Vulnerabilities which Crash Systemically Corrupt and Perverse SCADA Operating Systems.

      Told you so ...... .... and Kevin Mitnick is late to the party and no more than a wannabe gate-crasher/free-loader? Leopards and spots and all that jazz.

  16. MyffyW Silver badge

    Well done India

    A fine achievement

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    India delivers to Mars

    And I can't get a reliable vindaloo delivery from my local take away.


    1. Zog_but_not_the_first

      Re: India delivers to Mars

      I was thinking about something along the lines of "they forgot the naan" but you beat me to it.

      BTW, is such a comment racist these days? If Virgin had done it and we made a joke about beards or Tubular Bells would that be "corporatist" of "Bransonist"?

      Confused in the minefield of modern "ists".

    2. Martin Budden Silver badge

      Re: India delivers to Mars

      I always get a reliable delivery after a vindaloo.

  18. The Vociferous Time Waster

    Haw haw

    ...and the Russians used a pencil! Snort!

    </urban Legends>

  19. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    1st time out with a significant science payload is *very* impressive.

    I think the mission trajectory was a key part of keeping the rocket size (and hence cost) down. IIRC it was quite tricky. The other option might have been a solar sail.

    However as readers of the Mythical Man Month know a strong early success (and this is very strong indeed) can lead to the oh-so-difficult 2nd mission. They had better watch out for that.

    Thumbs up for this which I think beats India's greatest rivals (China and Pakistan) to the post by a long margin.

    1. Anonymous Cowerd

      Re: 1st time out with a significant science payload is *very* impressive.

      Presumably, they learnt from the previous errors of other nations...

      1. Raj

        Re: 1st time out with a significant science payload is *very* impressive.

        We didn't really get a chance to learn much more than that many of them failed many times. The ISRO was under international sanctions until 3 years ago, which meant zero collaboration. They did this all by themselves.

        Since the PSLV wasn't capable of lofting the payload with as much force as the MAVEN was by its launcher, they used the Oberth effect to generate the necessary momentum. There was not much margin for error - they needed to calculate the necessary fuel to do the Oberth rings, get catapulted to transfer orbit, and then have enough fuel to capture Mars orbit.

        Despite a couple of early glitches, they still arrived in Mars orbit with twice the fuel originally calculated, which means the mission will be much longer than planned.

  20. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Top Skills

    Well done India.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Top Skills

      I'm not entirely sure why someone felt the need to downvote me for that. Perhaps my congratulations were somehow offensive to someone who thinks that this isn't an impressive technical achievement by those in charge of the Indian space program, or perhaps the down-voter thinks that India doesn't deserve to have a space program. On the other hand, perhaps they believe that doing this sort of thing is a waste of resources and are too blinkered to see the benefits to be had to the people of India, from gaining the technical expertise involved in pulling this off. Or maybe they're just racist thugs, and don't like Indians?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh come on, it's not rocket science!

    Oh, wait it is...

    While they're obviously standing on the shoulders of giants, it is still an impressive achievement.

    The weatlth divide in India is massive, but this could be seen as an attempt to establish India as a player in the aerospace market, which in turn could lead to business going their way and so generating wealth for all.

  22. ItsNotMe

    What a country.

    "India: 600,000 die annually from 50% open-defecation rate

    "India, a nation with one foot in the present and the other in the past, suffers from a certain kind of pollution largely associated with undeveloped nations.

    The populations of entire villages in India still defecate in common-area fields that surround their communities, according to a Bloomberg report out Monday.

    The government of India, a world nuclear power, is trying to control disease by potty training rural populations who return to nature when nature calls, even after the government has installed toilets at their homes."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a country.

      There we go. I was wondering what happened to our DailyFail reading commetards. :D

  23. madeof5tardust

    Now shut the fuck up all you naysayers. Oh and make to sure plop something into Martian orbit before saying something stupid..

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow.. Congratulations India for pulling this off in the first attempt. Now, post some selfies!

  25. Trainee grumpy old ****


    Priorities 1: India spends roughly 45 million (in Sterling) sending a satellite to Mars and hopefully inspiring a future generation of scientists. In the mean time we will be spending upwards of 30-40 BILLION to get from London to Brum a few minutes quicker. How many kids will HS2 inspire?

    Priorities 2: It costs more to get some footballers to pledge temporary allegiance to a team!

  26. Chris G

    बधाई हो

    Congratulations India!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MOM - $74 Million (Satellite, Indian ground stations and software upgrades) (15kg payload)

    MAVEN - $671 Million (Mars Scout program which MAVEN is part of) (65kg payload)

    MOM is a demo unit for India that included a science payload. MAVEN was built to collect Mars specific data as its primary function. Service life and scientific instruments are also rolled up into the cost of each.

    Both are of value to science for different reasons and their cost reflects that.

    I'm happy that money is being spent on expanding knowledge rather than regional/global conflict for a change.

  28. Mussie (Ed)

    Well Done But...

    You cant tell me that all the work done before hand did not help with this mission, it an impressive feat yes and Kudos to the indian space agency, but all the first time comments well its like telling me that a commercial airline pilot is better than a test pilot cause the commercial pilot never bailed and crashed an aircraft...

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