India-Pakistan: March 15, 2000


The Indian Space Research Organization is trying to develop a lunar mission to mark India as a regional if not world power. The implications are serious. If India can land a scientific instrument package on the Moon, it could land a nuclear warhead in Chicago or Beijing. India wants to conduct the mission in 2008, and use it to prove that its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle is reliable and could be used for commercial heavy launches. It can place 2000kg into a 36,000km orbit. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, also mentioned as a possible lunar vehicle, can place 1,250kg payload into a 1,000km orbit. It has been used successfully in the past. So far, the GSLV has been beset by glitches and has yet to make its first flight. Analysts note that India has consistently failed to put its Light Combat Aircraft in service and its Arjun tank is notoriously unreliable. --Stephen V Cole


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