The orbiter is stated to be “low cost”, but that got me curious about what that really means.
The article gives a price tag of $73,000,000 for this new orbiter, and a quick google search turns up the price of the US’s Mars Climate Orbiter (of 1998) at $193,100,000. That’s definitely cheaper in terms of straight numbers, but what about adjusted for inflation and compared to the wealth of the originating country?
Adjusting for inflation, the MCO of '98 would have cost $274,866,417 today, which makes the new Indian orbiter even more of a bargain.
But what about national wealth? In 1998, the GPD of the US was $9,089,125,000,000 (or roughly 9.1 trillion). In contrast, the GPD of India in 2013 is estimated to end up around $1,758,216,000,000 (or roughly 1.8 trillion).
So while the MCO of 1998 was about 3.8 times more expensive than this new Indian orbiter (after adjusting for inflation), the Indian orbiter’s cost is a much larger portion of their nation’s GPD, by a factor of just over 5 times. Consequently, India has spent a greater portion of their national wealth on this orbiter today than the US did on the MCO in '98: about 1.9 times as much.
This looks an awful lot like the ships I build in Kerbal when I’ve had one too many scotches. Can’t get into into space? MOAR ROCKETS!
I hope they don’t also adopt my strategy of abandoning astronauts on the moon.
Sorry Kerbal dude, I fucked up and only put enough fuel in this rocket to get you there but not back. On the plus side, I also forgot to give your rocket a parachute, so even if you did make it back, it would be at 1000 km/h into the ground.
That is pretty damn cool. China next?
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