India’s first rocket launch in 1963 happened only after relocating a St Mary Magdalene church in what was then Trivandrum. The parishioners helped. At the research centre, with the church building converted to a workshop and cattle sheds to labs, the rocket was assembled with its parts transported on cycles and bullock carts. This country leapt into the space age with little more than enthusiasm and intelligence, and it is at a threshold once more. This is the era of private space exploration. This May, Elon Musk’s SpaceX even launched the first, commercial crewed mission to the International Space Station from the Kennedy Space Center.
Space-tech India is raring to take off, except it is short on ‘fuel’
Start-ups are working on small satellites, launchers, propulsion systems and geospatial data analysis; investors are interested but wary