Is ISRO more competent than NASA?

It totally depends on the aspect which you see. I have listed some of basic differences which will definitely help.

  • NASA has larger workforce than what ISRO currently has.

If you are asking if ISRO can stand toe to toe with NASA, then sorry to disappoint you, but we still have some miles to travel. It sucks to say that a foreign agency is better than ours, but part of solving any problem is to first recognize it.

In the year 1975, amidst the celebrations following the launch of India's first satellite, the rest of the world didn't care. Launching a satellite was so 1957.

Of course, our nation had reasons like poor funding for space programs and the general lack of enthusiasm by the Indian population.

Although there were a lot a failed missions, ISRO always found a way to get back up. Eventually, it would get a 34 successful launches in a row streak.

Then, Mangalyan happened. With that, India became the sixth country whose scientists and engineers showed sufficient smarts and funding to do this. What's more, their achievement was not only to successfully send a satellite to Mars, but to do so on their first try. We spent only $75 million. The Americans, who entered Martian orbit just three days before the Indian Mars Orbiter Mission, with their MAVEN satellite, spent $683 million, or nine times more.

Since ISRO's world record of launching whopping 104 satellites in one go, every person I came across is talking about how ISRO has dethroned NASA in the space race.

It's the fact that our so called "Media" has influenced us to compare ISRO & NASA and we fell for it. Mangalyaan and Chandrayaan missions were much more complicated and much better than this launch but no one cares to talk about them.


Most of us are eager to know how the comparison of ISRO vs NASA will be. These two space agencies are consistently keeping their position as the top 5 space agencies in the world. Before start comparing ISRO vs NASA, the background of both organizations should be considered.


With tremendous amount of funds and the best of the best scientists isro can beat nasa easily.

But, the problem is these two are the things which are keeping isro below nasa.

Mostly we see our new generations are more concentrated on money and all.
i think money is shit. The proper idea and the perfect execution of it would lead you to a place no one can imagine.

So, due to money and its greed and all we kind of choose the easy way rather the way which can lead us to money easily.
Due to all this we are left with nothing but a handful of persons who actually dream of becoming researchers or scientists.

The second thing is the budget which isro receives annualy.
Isro receives about 1.2 billion and nasa receives about 18.4 billion..(in $)

Now the nasa budget shown above is the 2011 budget now it might be more or less.

fun fact:- India spends 15$ for defence.

According to me this should be swapped. And then you will see how easily isro beats nasa. But you and me both of us know this is not gonna happen.


ISRO was formed with a primary aim to develop a space program that enables the Indian society in meeting its needs and establish self sufficiency. Until this demand is met, ISRO will not really come into competition with NASA.

NASA, with a larger freedom of budget and no pressing national need, has looked for ambitious projects ever since it's inception.

In terms of efficiency, yes, ISRO is better than NASA. In quantitative terms of space missions, no, ISRO is nowhere before NASA.

Personally, I don't think that the two organisations have enough ground to be compared to each other yet.
There is simply no comparison between NASA and ISRO. Its like comparing apples and oranges.

  1. ISRO was founded 11 years after NASA was founded
  2. NASA has historically been made available with much larger funds than ISRO (In 2010 ISRO's budget is just three per cent of that of NASA  - The Times of India)
  3. NASA has undertaken some huge projects like International Space Station which are still a long shot for ISRO. Hence, we can not compare the capabilities of ISRO and NASA on longer missions

    Even in Mangalyaan ISRO was using the Deep Space Network of NASA for communication. This is such a niche field that it requires an extraordinary level of technology, human skills and funding. It can not and should not be seen as competition.

    Rather all the space agencies should work towards integrated development and exploration of the final frontier of humans.

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