On August 23, India reached a historic milestone by successfully landing a spacecraft on the Moon, propelling it into an elite league with the United States, China, and the erstwhile Soviet Union.
The historic occurrence, which involves thes (ISRO) Chandrayaan-3 project, sparked tremendous celebration across the country and on social media platforms.
The mission, which included the Vikram Lander and the Pragyan Rover, landed precisely at the lunar south pole at 6.04 p.m., establishing India as a pioneer in lunar exploration.
Among the project's distinguishing features is its relatively low budget, which sets it apart from its predecessors, particularly the Chandrayaan-2 mission.
Unfortunately, Chandrayaan-2 experienced setbacks, losing touch with its lander just before its scheduled landing on September 7, 2019, due to a technical fault.
Regarding fiscal allocation, Chandrayaan-2 cost Rs. 978 crore, which was much higher than Chandrayaan-3.
To put this in context, ISRO's first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1, launched in 2008, had a budget of around Rs. 386 crore.
The budget for Chandrayaan-3, which has been set at Rs. 615 crore, has been praised for its economy and for showcasing 's expertise in cost optimization, an achievement that has earned praise from SpaceX's CEO, Elon Musk.
Russia's Luna25 mission, on the other hand, is said to have crashed-landed on the Moon's surface.
Though no official confirmation has been provided, estimations place its budget between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 1,600 crore.
China made its mark in lunar exploration in 2019 with the Chang'e 4 mission, which achieved a flawless soft landing on the Moon's far side.
While the actual budget for this initiative is unknown, India's Economic Survey stated that China invested USD 11 billion in its space sector in 2018, a sevenfold difference from India's investment of USD 1.5 billion during the same year.
Furthermore, according to space research firm Euroconsult, China's ambitious space program will continue into the future, with an anticipated USD 12 billion funded in 2022.
In comparison, NASA's inspector general estimates that the US space agency will spend around $93 billion on its Artemis moon mission through 2025.
As India's accomplishes this extraordinary feat on a minimal budget, the country establishes itself as a forerunner in lunar exploration while demonstrating admirable budgetary prudence.