India’s Mars Orbiter Mission: Triumph of Frugal Engineering




Case Details Case Introduction 1 Case Introduction 2 Case Excerpts

Abstract

With the success of its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called Mangalyaan, India became the first country to succeed in its maiden attempt to reach Mars. However, what captured the attention of the international media was the shoestring budget in which the mission was accomplished. At US$74 million, the budget was less than what was spent on the Hollywood movie ‘Gravity’, released the same year.

ISRO was established in the year 1969 under the chairmanship of Dr Vikram Sarabhai (Sarabhai), regarded as the father of the Indian space research initiative. India’s space program, when it was began, came under a lot of criticism. There were many who felt that as a developing nation, India’s priority should be to deal with issues like poverty. However, Sarabhai convinced the government that there was no ambiguity in ISRO’s purpose and it was not competing with economically developed nations in the exploration of the moon or any other planet.

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Issues

The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Understand frugal innovation
  • Study how frugal innovation is practiced in emerging markets
  • Understand how resource constraints and scarcity can be overcome
  • Examine how to innovate cost-effectively under resource constraints
  • Analyze how such innovations help emerging markets address their problems and also compete with developed countries

Contents
Introduction
Background Note
Mars Orbiter Mission
The Launch
Frugal Innovation! For Whose Benefit?
Exhibit

Keywords

Frugal Innovation, Reverse Engineering, Indian Space Research Organization, Mars Orbiter Mission, Reducing costs, Frugal engineering, Developing country, resource scarcity, Frugal innovation for emerging markets, Mangalyaan

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