Thiruvananthapuram | Buoyed by India's successful Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission, former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair said the scientists at space agency have achieved this historic success by getting a salary one-fifth of the scientists in the developed world.
According to him, the low wages for the scientists at ISRO are one of the reasons why they could find low-cost solutions for space exploration.
"The wages paid to the scientists, technicians, and other staff at ISRO are hardly one-fifth of what is given globally. So that gives an advantage," Nair told PTI while talking about the Indian space agency's history of exploring space at very low expenses.
He said there are no millionaires among ISRO scientists, and they always live a very normal and subdued life.
"They are not really bothered about the money but are passionate and dedicated to their mission. That is how we achieved greater heights," Nair said here.
He said the scientists at ISRO could achieve this through careful planning and long-term vision.
"We tried to build one upon the other. What we learnt in the past, we used for the subsequent mission. In fact, what we developed nearly 30 years ago for the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle is the same engine that is being used for the GSLV as well," Nair said.
He said India uses home-grown technology for its space missions, and that helped them reduce the cost considerably. He said the space mission costs of India are 50 to 60 percent lower compared to the space missions of other countries.
Nair said the success of Chandrayaan-3 is the first stepping stone to begin India's planetary explorations.
"We have really broken the ice and made a good beginning," he said.
The former ISRO chief said the country already has several commercial contracts with Europe and America, and this will grow now with the success of Chandrayaan-3.
"Certainly the global people will accept our technical competence and quality of our launch system and spacecraft, etc. International cooperation has been on the agenda of the Indian space programme, and it will be strengthened in the days to come," he added.
The total cost of Chandrayaan-3, according to ISRO, is only Rs 615 crore, which is almost equivalent to a Bollywood movie's production budget in the country.
In a giant leap for its space programme, India's Moon mission Chandrayaan-3 touched down on the lunar south pole at 6.04 pm on Wednesday, propelling the country into an exclusive club of four and making it the first country to land on the uncharted surface.
With this touchdown on the Moon to script history after a flawless 41-day voyage and less than a week after a Russian lander headed to the lunar south pole crashed, India has become the fourth country to master the technology of soft-landing on the Moon after the US, China, and the erstwhile Soviet Union.