WE SHOULD FOCUS on developing our domestic space industry. We do not have private space companies here, but countries like the US do. In Sriharikota, we have a major PSLV launch pad. We should offer launch services for other countries and even create launch pads exclusively for them to take advantage of our closeness to the equator.
A consortium of countries in the region should be formulated in this regard, and India should take the lead. The first PSLV was successfully launched in 1994, and there were so many successful missions after that. But we should not be content with that. The ISRO has plans to carry out ambitious launches in the years to come. But I feel it is important to get the basics right and not repeat mistakes.
There is still a lot more to achieve for us in space technology, to be a superpower in it, and achieve Kalam’s dreams. But, there is no need to be overambitious. The 'man on the moon' project should not be overhyped at this stage. We should not be in a race with other countries like China. Cost effectiveness should be looked into.
Narayanan was a senior scientist at ISRO and is a Padma Bhushan awardee.
—As told to Anirudha Karindalam