India Ranks Among top 10 Nations with Space Programmes: Dr Radharkrishnan

November 11, 2014

New Delhi: Dwelling on the national significance and international prominence of India’s Space Programme, Dr K Radhakrishnan, Chairman of Space Commission, Secretary, Department of Space, GoI, and Chairman of ISRO today said that India now stands 5th/6th in the list of nations with space programmes. Dr Radhakrishnan was speaking on the ‘Contribution of India’s Space Programme in Nation Building’ while delivering the 50th Foundation Day Address of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) on November 11, 2014.

Speaking further, Dr Radhakrishnan said India has made remarkable progress in the fields of Planetary Exploration and the Study of Solar System with the launch of ‘Chadrayaan’to the Mon and the Mars Orbiter Mission. Chandrayaan’s discovery of the availability of water on moon was a landmark achievement’ said the ISRO Chief.

Stressing in particular on the success of the Mars Orbiter mission, the ISRO Chief said that the success of the mission is gratifying especially because it has changed the perception of the global space community towards India. India took only four years to launch the mission from its conception and used its ingenuity by moving to right location, using the propulsion of the satellite and also by designing a unique mission in which minimum energy transfer from the Earth orbit to Mars orbit was made possible. The mission was also more significant as the previous international missions undertaken before India had very low success rate.

It was for the first time that ISRO was dealing with distances of millions of kilo metres where the space craft had to be navigated very precisely to such a distance, battling the influence of the Sun and other planets. It was a big challenge and to direct the space craft in that direction 300 days in advance was another task, narrated Dr Radhakrishnan. Today India has the distinction of becoming the first country in the world to have successfully launched a satellite in Mars in first attempt, stated Dr Radhakrishnan, adding that it is also only the fourth country in the world to have an orbiter around Mars.

Speaking of Indigenous launch vehicles, Dr Radhakrishnan said that India has made tremendous strides in launch vehicle technology to achieve self-reliance in satellite launch vehicle programme with the commissioning of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and more recently with the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

Throwing light on areas where India has not yet made major inroads are Human-in-loop missions and space robotics. India is, however, making a beginning in this field by looking at major technologies in this area. ISRO plans to test a flight of GSLV Mark III in December 2014. It is a launch vehicle under development by ISRO, intended to launch satellites into geostationary orbit and as a launcher for an Indian crew vehicle.

Dr K Radhakrishnan also presented the prestigious K Subrahmanyam Award to Dr Manpreet Sethi, an ICSSR Senior Fellow, affiliated to the Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS). She has been a Project Leader for Nuclear Security Issues at the CAPS and a Research fellow at the IDSA. Dr Sethi received the award for her contribution in the field of Nuclear Strategy, Nuclear Security, Nuclear Power and Space. IDSA scholar, Mr S Samuel C Rajiv, was also honoured with the President’s Award for his article ‘Politicised Safeguards: Iran-IAEA Contentions, Drivers and Policy Implications’ in a refereed journal.

IDSA is a non-partisan, autonomous, registered, society, funded by the Indian Ministry of Defence. Established in New Delhi on November 11, 1965, IDSA is dedicated to objective and policy relevant studies on all aspects of defence and security. Over the years, it has emerged as the nation’s premier think thank on strategic affairs.