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Live pictures of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) scientists reacting are displayed on a big screen at their Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network facility in Bangalore, India
AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi
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WORK@ISRO

Inspired by ISRO? Here’s how much money you can make in Indian space research

By Manavi Kapur

India’s mission to the moon can well be a modern-day fable of grit and determination that inspires young minds to pursue a career in space.

The televised event had millions of Indians glued to their screens, hoping that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) would re-establish contact with Vikram Lander, whose final descent onto the lunar south pole went awry on Sept. 07.

Careers are shaped with such inspiring stories, especially when science and emotion come together. While being an astronaut like Kalpana Chawla is many young Indians’ dream, there are other ways to work with ISRO and help make scientific history.

Like the cogs of a giant wheel, scientists at ISRO perform various roles. According to Indeed, a global jobs website, those working in the field of space research can earn average annual salaries ranging from Rs1.5 lakh ($2,081) to Rs6.12 lakh ($8,500). This data is based on wages submitted anonymously to Indeed by employees, and from past and present advertisements on the jobs portal in the last three years.

A civil engineer, for instance, analyses drawings and maps for design practicality, and can earn between Rs2.20 lakh and Rs6.12 lakh per annum. A technical assistant, who troubleshoots components, can attract Rs2.36-6 lakh annually.

The fitter, in a space research team, studies blueprints, and helps construct and assemble parts of equipment. She can make anywhere between Rs1.53 lakh and Rs4.08 lakh per annum.

Isro has 86 vacancies for various roles at the Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC), according to The Indian Express newspaper. The HSFC is the arm of ISRO that will work on Gaganyaan, India’s manned spacecraft programme which is currently in the works.

These are, though, fairly modest salary expectations. A graduate from India’s premier Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) can expect an average salary of Rs9-12 lakh, according to latest placement trends. This is despite a slowdown in core sectors like automobiles, and an unemployment crisis prevailing in the country.

Scientists at ISRO are currently protesting a Rs10,000 reduction in their monthly salaries, according to a recent report in The Wire.