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By 2047, India should be seen as world-leading space-faring nation: ISRO Chief

NEW DELHI (PTI): India will have to look at space as a "strategic asset" of the country and should become a world-leading space-faring nation by 2047, ISRO chairman S Somanath said on Wednesday.

He made the remarks while delivering the 38th Air Chief Marshal P C Lal Memorial Lecture at an Indian Air Force event in New Delhi.

IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari, former IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria (retd), and several air warriors were present on the occasion.

"We have to look at space as a strategic asset of the nation. And we should create that capability, to sustain it, build it in an 'atma nirbhar' (self-reliant) way. It is very important … And we have created a roadmap of how to build it," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman Somanath said.

"And this is how we want to see India when it reaches the 100th year of its Independence. We would like to see India as a world-leading space-faring nation," he said.

During his presentation, he also spoke about the 'Space roadmap for Amrit Kaal' delineating the various aspects the country needs to work on for the next 25 years.

The Government has defined 'Amrit Kaal' as the 25-year period from 2022 to 2047, ie, from the year when India completed 75 years of its getting Independence from the British, to the year it celebrates the 100th anniversary of that milestone.

Somanath mentioned four levels the country needs to succeed at in its space roadmap – strategic, spacecraft, innovation and exploration; continuing human space flight; launch cost reduction; and business of space travel, in that order.

Space parks, space tourism, global space data solution, global space manufacturing hub, and space mining with defined timelines too were mentioned in the powerpoint slide he shared on the roadmap.

In his lecture, he also spoke of the Gaganyaan and Chandrayaan missions of India. He said that the Chandrayaan-3 was being planned to be launched in mid-July.

Chandrayaan-3 aims to land a rover on the lunar surface.
Somanath later told reporters that while no date had been finalised, the ISRO was looking to launch the mission between July 12 and 19 at the earliest.

In his address, the ISRO chief also underlined the need for sustainability in space. While sharing data on space debris in his slides, he said, of the nearly 14,000 satellites in orbit, "80 per cent are not functioning." The memorial lecture was organised by the Air Force Association (AFA).

Air Chief Marshal P C Lal was commissioned in the IAF in 1939. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross during the Burma Campaign in World War II. He served as the Vice Chief of the Air Staff in the 1965 war.

While on deputation to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in 1966, he served as the Chairman and Managing Director of HAL. As the seventh Chief of the Air Staff during the 1971 war, his outstanding leadership proved to be a decisive factor in India's victory and the liberation of Bangladesh.

Lal was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1966 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1972 for his contributions in the two wars. After retirement in 1973, he was appointed the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Indian Airlines and later the chairman of Air India.

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