திங்கள், டிசம்பர் 29, 2008

A fulfilling year for ISRO


CHENNAI: The year 2008 was a golden year for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with successes in both launch vehicle and spacecraft technologies.

Capping them was the impeccable launch of Chandrayaan-1, India’s first mission to the moon on October 22 from Sriharikota, and the Moon Impact Probe (MIP) hitting the moon’s surface on November 14. India joined Russia, the U.S, Japan and the European Space Agency in the elite club of those who have impacted a probe on the moon’s surface.

M. Annadurai, Project Director, Chandrayaan-1, said: “For Chandrayaan-1 team, this year has been a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. Definitely, when we look back, 2008 has been fulfilling and we have a sense of achievement.”

S. Satish, Director, Publications and Public Relations, ISRO, called the Chandrayaan-1 mission “a unique success because the tricolour reached the lunar surface in ISRO’s first attempt to send a spacecraft to the moon.” He described 2008 as “a landmark year for ISRO.”

On April 28, ISRO scored a perfect 10 when its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) put 10 satellites in orbit one after the other, a world record. They included two Indian satellites — Cartosat-2A and the Indian Mini Satellite (IMS-1), and eight nano satellites from abroad. It was a remarkable achievement because the PSLV core-alone version — without its customary six strap-on motors — did the job. Using a single rocket to launch multiple satellites is technologically challenging because the rocket’s last stage should eject them into the required orbits in a precisely timed sequence so that the satellites do not collide.

Global presence

On January 21, in a secret launch from Sriharikota, another PSLV core-alone put Israel’s Tecsar satellite in orbit.

Antrix Corporation, ISRO’s commercial wing, made big money with the launch of the Tecsar and the nano satellites and also made inroads into the international market for satellites by building the W2M, which was put in orbit on December 21. The W2M, a communications satellite, was jointly built by ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore and EADS-Astrium of Europe for Eutelsat, the European communication satellite giant. “The Eutelsat was a demanding customer. We met its deadlines,” said Mr. Satish.

The ISRO crossed a significant milestone in building an indigenous cryogenic engine when the engine passed the flight-acceptance trial on December 18. This engine will power the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D3) flight in 2009.

Meanwhile, “everything is perfect with Chandrayaan-1” and all its 10 instruments “are working well,” said Mr. Annadurai.

ISRO CHIEF DELIVERS LECTURE ON INDIA'S SPACE ACHIEVEMENTS


Mysore, Dec.29- Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G. Madhavan Nair, delivered a lecture on India’s achievements in space as part the Technical Lecture Series of Institution of Engineers, Mysore Chapter, here yesterday.

He said investment in space technology has paid rich dividends to the country and that ISRO has succeeded in taking its benefits from the confines of the laboratory to society at large.

The country cannot adopt the technologies developed by developed countries as it would not serve India’s purpose where 70 per cent of the people lived in rural areas and it called for addressing technological issues from the local angle, he said.

"Our home-grown technology is world class and the Chandrayaan mission was accomplished in four years from the time of project conception, which is remarkable for a maiden mission," Nair added.

Stating that there were critics who questioned the need for spending money on such programmes, the ISRO chief said the spin-off benefits of investment in space had provided rich dividends.

Madhavan Nair offered floral tributes to the bust of Sir MV at the Institution premises.

K.R. Sridhara Murthi, Executive Director, Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of ISRO, said Indian technology and know-how had global recognition. He said it was only last week that a state-of-the-art communication satellite – W2M, built by ISRO on a commercial basis for Eutelsat, was successfully launched by the European Ariane-5 launch vehicle from French Guiana.

"We had stiff competition from US and other European countries but ISRO outdid the rest and bagged the orders for the satellite," said Sridhara Murthi.

Institution of Engineers Chairman C.N. Babu, Hon. Secretary C.S. Rajashekargowda, former Chairman K.N. Subba Rao and others were present.

'Chandrayaan-1 symbolic of India's future in space programme'


Coimbatore (PTI): Highlighting the importance of team effort, Chandrayaan-1 Project Director M Annadurai on Monday said the success of the country's maiden moon mission was symbolic of what India could be in future.

"It (Chandrayaan-1) demonstrated how India could get along and lead a team of technical and scientific experts from internationally reputed organisations to realise an ambitious mission," he said while delivering an address at the Amrita University here.

"Team spirit is the mantra for achieving something big," Annadurai told the students.

"Harmonising efforts of all team members towards a common goal and realising the objective with an allotted budget and schedule demonstrated how good the team has converted a very difficult situation into a historic opportunity," he said.

The International Lunar Exploration Working Group's International Cooperation Award was given to ISRO Chandrayaan-1 team, for the "challenging accommodation and tests" of the most international lunar payload ever -- from 20 countries -- with the successful launch on the PSLV on Oct 22 and for the successful lunar insertion on November 8, 2008, he said.

"If ISRO can achieve such a feat, why not other Indian teams. As a team we can do wonders. It can be accomplished as a team in all the fields, let it be in education, medicine, industry, trade, commerce, press, electronic media, sports, arts, service department and even in politics," Annadurai said.

Scientists to announce findings of moon data next month: ISRO


Bangalore , Dec 29 Scientists would announce next month preliminary findings based on the data generated by instruments on board India&aposs Chandrayaan-1 moon mission, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, G Madhavan Nairsaid today.

"Today, Chandrayaan is sending very good data to the ground stations. Soon, we will have the preliminary analysis of the data. By the end of January, we will have session by which the scientists will come together and announce the first findings,"he said.

" There is already some lead about the presence of iron and calcium and so on. Yes, there are indications. But to say it conclusively, a lot of analysis need to be done,"he said.

ISRO developing rocket that cuts satellite launch cost by half

BANGALORE: India is developing a new-generation rocket that would cut satellite launch cost by half, boosting low-cost access to space, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, G Madhavan Nair said on Monday. 

Nair, also Secretary in the Department of Space, said the cost of Indian launch vehicles are currently lower by 20-30 per cent compared to international prices. 

"But by developing the next generation (launch) vehicles...Mark-III (GSLV-Mk III), we should be able to cut down the (launch) cost to half of what it is today", he said, delivering the Silver Jubilee Commemoration lecture organised by the KEB Engineers' Association here. 

He said GSLV-Mk III, expected to be operational in 2010, would make India the cheapest and lowest cost satellite launch services provider in the world. 

According to officials of Bangalore-headquartered ISRO, GSLV-Mk III is envisaged to launch four tonne satellites into geosynchronous transfer orbit. 

Nagaland's potential lies in rich bio-diversity-KALAM


Kohima : Former President of India, Dr APJ Kalam has said that judicious exploration of the rich bio-diversity available in Nagaland can greatly boost the state's economy.
Responding to a student who wanted to know what Nagaland needs to do for its economic growth during an interaction in Dimapur at the Delhi Public School as part of the ongoing 16th National Children's Science Congress 2008 yesterday, Dr. Kalam suggested that along with herbal aromatic plants, Nagaland should explore its immense potentials in agro-processing enterprises, horticulture and floriculture as also its native craftsmanship by infusing appropriate technologies so as to generate exportable products. And Naga youth can take a lead on this aspect, he said.
On the role of students, Kalam said the primary mission of a student should be to excel in studies. He said success would come so long as students have a set goal, acquire the knowledge, work hard with devotion and persevere.
On the role of teachers, Dr Kalam said a good teacher is one who don't use "old notes" but have something new to say to the students always. A teacher should prepare lesson everyday, he added.
Describing the children as "born scientists" since they ask a lot of questions, Dr Kalam suggested the teachers to encourage their pupils to ask more questions as well as interact with the students.
When a student asked whether he regards his elevation to Rashtrapati Bhavan or the success of the Pokhran tests as his success story in life, Dr Kalam quipped neither of them satisfied him more than his research findings on carbon to make lighter materials to fly missiles, since the same materials were used by a Hyderabad-based hospital to make lighter calipers for physically handicapped children, who earlier found it difficult to walk with heavy calipers.
Emphasizing the need for exploration of all non-conventional energy sources in view of the problem posed by global warming to planet earth, Dr Kalam said research on solar energy using nano-technology would lead to better fuel efficiency in vehicles to hit the roads. He pointed out the present available technology on solar powered vehicles could attain only 20-25 per cent fuel efficiency but nano-techlogy showed the efficiency in solar cells used in cars can be enhanced to 60-65 per cent.
"Don't worry, wait for a few years, you will get your solar powered cars to drive on Dimapur roads," Dr Kalam said in reply to a question from a student on when she will get opportunity to drive her vehicle powered by solar energy.
Also participating in the interaction, former UGC chairman and noted scientist Prof Yashpal wanted the teachers to listen and learn from students to teach them properly. "Do not emphasize much on what they answer from their syllabus, rather give importance to what the students question," Prof Yashpal suggested.
Asking the teachers never to say no to questions from students, Prof Yashpal pointed out that "to discover a question is more important than to read the answer." The 5-day children science congress is being held here on the theme 'The Planet our home: Explore, care and share' and attended by over 1,200 delegates, comprising students, teachers and scientists, from different parts of the country.

Space research funds


The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has sanctioned Rs 1 crore to Calcutta University (CU) for space research.

“As part of a scheme to strengthen space research in the country, Isro has decided to provide funds to five universities in the country. CU has been selected as one of the universities,” said Tapan Mukherjee, the CU pro vice-chancellor (finance).

The radio physics department of CU will take up the research projects.

Nine institutes were shortlisted by Isro for the grant. Five institutes were selected after a final screening in Bangalore in May. The institutes that made the cut include the University of Pune, University of Hyderabad and Benaras Hindu University.

Four Isro-sponsored projects are in progress at CU. The quantum of grant varies between Rs 35 lakh and Rs 65 lakh. The new grant will enable advanced space research, said a teacher of the department. The first instalment of Rs 5 lakh has been released.

“The new projects will soon be underway,” said CU vice-chancellor Suranjan Das. The decision to start work was approved by the university syndicate last Tuesday. There is no deadline for the projects.

Five teaching posts will be created under the programme. Isro will pay the salaries for five years.“We will urge Isro to provide funds for continuing the posts after five years. But we may also have to approach the state government,” said a university official.