Modi has frequently fused his image with that of India’s rise as an economic, diplomatic and technological power.
“Chandrayaan-3’s triumph mirrors the aspirations and capabilities of 1.4 billion Indians,” Mr. Modi said when the landing was complete, declaring the event as “the moment for new, developing India.”
S. Somanath, the director of the Indian Space Research Organization, had fun deflecting one reporter’s question about the project’s frugal cost. Somanath laughed and said, “I won’t disclose such secrets. We don’t want everyone else to become so cost-effective!” The Chandrayaan-2 was reported to have cost about $46 million, and the Chandrayaan-3 is supposed to have been in a similar range.
Prayers were offered for the mission’s success at Hindu temples, Sikh Gurdwaras and Muslim mosques. Schools held special ceremonies and organized live viewings of the moon landing, with an official YouTube video of the event racking up tens of millions of views. The police band in the city of Mumbai, India’s commercial and entertainment hub, sent a “special musical tribute” to the scientists, performing a popular patriotic song.
“There is full faith,” the song, in Hindi, says. “We will succeed.”
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