Modi pitches frugal space prowess at rocket launch

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C23), carrying five satellites, lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, north of Chennai.

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C23), carrying five satellites, lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, north of Chennai.

Newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a pitch for India to be the world’s low-cost space technology supplier, minutes after witnessing the launch of a rocket carrying five satellites from France, Singapore, Germany and Canada on Monday.

The launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle bolsters India’s goal of capturing more of the $304 billion annual global space market, and Modi seized the moment with an uplifting speech about India’s prowess in cheap space technology.

“This fills every Indian’s heart with pride and I can see it reflected in the joy and satisfaction on your faces,” said Modi, from the launch site at Sriharikota off the coast of Andhra Pradesh.

“Truly this is a global endorsement of India’s space capability,” he said, adding that India’s current Mars mission cost less than the budget of the Hollywood science fiction film “Gravity”.

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