India’s super-efficient Mars mission.

You might have seen on BBC and elsewhere that India launched a rocket to Mars. But have you seen the Quartz article on just how inexpensively they managed to do it?:

Christened Mangalyaan, or Mars vehicle, the rocket is part of a scientific mission that cost a grand total of Rs 4.5 billion, or $73 million. In terms of the space business, that’s a bargain. By contrast, NASA’s next Mars mission will cost $671 million and do the same thing as India’s craft: orbit the red planet collecting data.

The secret to India’s low-budget space program is a simple one: operating within constraints and without luxuries. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) adapts what technology it can, strips out costs wherever it can and is staffed with modestly-paid yet incredibly hard-working scientists, explains the Economic Times. It is willing to take more risks, for example by building just one physical model of its craft compared to the three employed by NASA in case one fails. And it sets tight schedules to reduce costs even further.

Bangalore did not become a tech hub simply because of its pleasant weather and lovely gardens. It is the home of ISRO, the Defence Research and Development Organisation, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, and other high-tech industries that created an environment for and pool of engineers.