The first years of Moon exploration revealed a thirst of exploring space beyond our boldest dreams, but also a fierce competition between the Soviet Union and the United States: the first probe on the Moon was the Soviet Union’s achievement, while the first manned mission on the Moon went to the United States.
But in modern space exploration era, new countries show determination to reach beyond Earth orbit, by launching space missions to the Moon (Japan in 1990, the European Space Agency last year, China, and now India). Only this time, the race in space has turned into an international collaboration between space agencies from all continents, for the benefit of science.
India is the author of the latest space achievement, as it announced the official launch of the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, with the mission: Moon. But in addition to its own space development programs, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) also got the support of ESA and NASA, which they called “a classical example of international cooperation that has characterized the global space exploration programmers of the post cold war era.”
Upon first announcing the collaboration with India on the Chandrayaan-1 programme, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin underlined the importance of partnering with India, which will hopefully be another element to help extend the reach of human civilization throughout the Solar System.
Earlier this year, NASA also signed an agreement with ISRO for a future cooperation between the two agencies in space exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes. “India has extensive space-related experience, capabilities and infrastructure, and will continue to be a welcome partner in NASA's future space exploration activities,” Griffin said.
The European Space Agency also applauded ISRO’s ambition and successful launch of its first Moon mission. ESA Director David Southwood said: “while the exploration of space calls for new challenges to be...