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The importance of states in space missions

  • Published
    28th Aug, 2023


On August 23, with Chandrayaan-3’s lander module making a soft landing on the moon, India became only the fourth country after the erstwhile Soviet Union, the U.S., and China to accomplish this achievement. It is a testament to the remarkable ingenuity of Indian scientists that this feat was carried out at a relatively low cost.

The Race to Moon

  • Resource Not Sole Factor: USSR and China achieved significant space feats despite smaller economies, suggesting resources alone aren't limiting.
  • Human Resources Impact: Nations like China, India, and Russia prioritized science, reaping space exploration successes from invested scientists and engineers.
  • Population and Technology: Populous countries' focus on science, technology led to innovation and achievements despite economic disparities with developed nations.

Debate around Moon’s exploration

  • UAE's Space Success: UAE's space achievements challenge population-driven assumptions, highlighting state role and collaboration in accomplishing ambitious objectives.
  • Government and Collaboration: State's active involvement, combined with private sector and academic collaboration, overcomes financial constraints and propels space endeavors.
  • Resource Diversion Debate: Developing economies' space programs questioned for resource allocation, similar concerns exist in developed nations. Yet space missions contribute to knowledge and progress.

Factors responsible for successful mission

  • Redefining State's Role: Global crises reveal private sector's limitations; state-market partnership needed for innovation. Successful space missions exemplify state competence.
  • State Intervention: Dichotomy of passive state and market no longer applies. Active state intervention fosters innovation, addressing social and environmental challenges.
  • Mazzucatto's Perspective: Economist Mazzucatto's research on Apollo missions shows state coordination drives success. Similar approach could address climate change, hunger, fostering inclusive development.
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