Well, it looks like our Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has stunned the boys at NASA again. The organization has set a new record in space mission achievements with the successful launch of 104 satellites in one go. This crushes the previous Russian record of 37 satellites launched in a single mission, sets a benchmark for space achievements – and shows the world exactly how powerful Indian jugaad is.
The ISRO is one of the best examples of how the Indian attitude towards getting the best out of the least and getting results on a budget can truly make an organization shine. The ISRO first made international news with its now legendary Mangalyaan project. The Mars space probe mission succeeded on its first try at a cost of 73 million dollars (compared to the whopping 672 million dollars that the NASA’s own Mar’s orbiter cost).
Here’s a look at the ISRO’s jugaad principles that make it such a success:
1.Keep it simple:
ISRO chairman, Kopillil Radhakrishnan spoke to Forbes after the Mangalyaan launch, saying, “ISRO’s general philosophy is cost effectiveness. The Russians look for robustness and the Americans go after optimization. Our aim at ISRO was how do we get to Mars on a budget.”
The ISRO knew their budget constraint and decided to focus on getting the job done rather than adding any bells and whistles or optimizing to a high degree. And indeed, Mangalyaan’s task was to measure Methane presence in Mars’ atmosphere and that’s exactly what it does. Nothing more, nothing less.
- Build on what you already have:
The Vikas rocket engines that were used in the Mangalyaan project was based on technology and know-how that was acquired from the French in the 1970s. As this was a partnership there was no money involved. The engineers at ISRO used this knowledge as a base and built on it over the years, further increasing the effectiveness and design of the engine with each successive launch.
The ISRO could launch its 104 satellites by developing a special strategy that maintained different angles for each satellite. The heaviest satellites were placed along the core axis of the vehicle and the remaining satellites were released at different orientations.
In other words, they made maximum use of the space within the vehicle to fit in the required satellites in an effective manner.
- Do it right the first time:
Unlike Nasa’s extensive prototype testing and multiple stage development process, the ISRO focused on building the final product from the beginning in the Mangalyaan project. They had a limited number of ground tests but made the best out of each.
- Don’t waste anything:
“We are not doing this launch to create any sort of record but to utilize the excess capacity available on the PSLV,” said Mr. Jayakumar, the mission director at ISRO for the satellite launch project.
In true Indian jugaad, nothing is left to waste. Every bit of the excess capacity was used with great effect, managing the feat of carrying and launching a 104 satellites in one go.
With its latest satellite launch, the ISRO has made sure that it will go down in the annals of space missions for its astonishing achievements. But while the rest of the scientific community is scratching their heads and looking suspicious, engineers across India have a quiet smile on their face as they get back to what they do best- making the most out of the least.