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India needs to ramp up space hardware capacity: Kiran Kumar

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HYDERABAD (PTI): A top space scientist Monday said India will miss out on capturing a share of the international satellite and rocket market if it did not ramp up its hardware production capacity big time.

Former Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), A S Kiran Kumar said the focus has been on increasing capability in space technologies and related hardware within the country but indicated that the effort may not be enough.

"Unless we increase the capacity within the country to make these kinds of hardware, and do them in larger numbers quick time, our ability to play a role in the international opportunity that's available in the space activity will be limited", he told PTI.

"Having developed a certain technology, we need to make sure that we are able to do it in (large) numbers to capture a portion of the global market that's available in this. That will also give a big boost to the economic activity in the country" Kumar said.

Referring to the Rs 10,000 crore Gaganyaan project, under which a three-member crew will be sent to space for at least seven days by 2022, he said it would give a big boost to science and technology development in the country.

But the former ISRO scientist said there were many challenges to realise the ambitious venture, which would make India the world's fourth country having the capability to put humans in space.

"You have to make sure that launch vehicle is human rated, you need to train the people (astronauts), you have to make sure the vehicle which is going to space has the necessary environmental control required for humans to survive in space. So, there are a huge number of challenges," he said.

ISRO, which has already successfully demonstrated cryogenic engine technology, has been working on certain critical technologies needed for the human space flight project, formally approved by the Union Cabinet last Friday.

"Now all those activities (towards the mission) will really get the fillip needed, now that there is a target to work towards (realising the mission by 2022) and resources available", Kiran Kumar said.

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