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ISRO outlines bold future beyond the moon

(L-R) C Banerjee, DG, CII; Dr G Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO; Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs; and S K Munjal; Past President, CII at Session on Felicitation of Chandrayaan-1 Team on December 24 in New Delhi. CII photo

NEW DELHI (BNS): The Indian Space Research Organisation has lined up a slew of new missions, including landing a spacecraft on an asteroid and sending a probe to fly past a comet.

Speaking in the national capital on the sidelines of a felicitation ceremony organised for the Chandrayaan team, ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair said the coming years are going to be hectic for the space team.

Nair said, "India is no more a developing economy in scientific domain. With the success of Chandrayaan the global community is looking towards India for world class competitive space related ventures." Pointing out that Chandrayaan was not a singular success, he pointed out the latest success of ISRO-- launch of India built satellite for European community on December 20, 2008.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Activities in the Field of Human Spaceflight Programme, signed during the visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on December 5, an Indian astronaut will fly to space in 2013. Later two Indian astronauts would be flying on an indigenously developed rocket in 2015 for a seven-day mission.

Nair said the mission to Mars is at a conceptual stage now. In 2009, the mission would be finalized and by 2013 it can take off, Nair said. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), used to put communications satellites in orbit, will be used to launch the probe to Mars.

The Chandrayaan-II would be undertaken in 2012, when a rover would be landed on Moon. Russia will assist India in building the rover. Nair said the Indian scientists would be redesigning Russia's Soyuz space capsule for the ISRO mission.

The central government has sanctioned Rs 95 crore for the feasibility study of manned space mission, under which two-member crew would spend a week in space. The spacecraft, to be placed in a low earth orbit, will splash in the Indian Ocean after completion of the mission. The ISRO is setting up an astronaut-training centre in Bangalore, where a batch of 200 would be initially selected and trained before opting for four persons out of which two would go on the mission.

Felicitating the Chandrayaan team, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs Vayalar Ravi said the mission was one of the greatest achievements of Indian scientists and ISRO. "We hope that the institution will work for further achievements for the nation," said Ravi.

The Minister was speaking at a meeting organised on Wednesday by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to felicitate Chandrayaan-1 Team.

Ravi said ISRO has made unique contributions to the development of India, and has a special place in people's hearts. "ISRO provided housing facility to the fishermen community of Kerala. The institution during its tenure has never faced workers strike, which reflects how the institution treats every associated resource with respect," Ravi said.

Dr K Radhakrishnan, director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram said, "The mission has been successful as the scientists followed highly precise and accurate way forward. ISRO dreams of lead a mission to Mars by 2013-2016. This presents a new plethora of space adventure for India."

Sunil Kant Munjal, past president of CII and chairman of Hero Corporate Service Limited, said Chandrayaan-1 signals new scope of India's global opportunities. The success of the mission reflects careful planning and brilliant execution, he said.

The members felicitated during the seminar were Dr G Madhavan Nair, chairman, ISRO; Dr K Radhakrishnan, director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre; Dr MYS Prasad, associate director, SDSC-SHAR, Sriharikota; Dr V Jayaraman, director, National Remote Sensing Agency, Hyderabad; KR Sridharamurthy, managing director, Antrix Corporation, Bangalore; MKG Nair, director, Liquid Propulsion System Centre, Trivandrum; PS Veeraraghavan, director, ISRO Inertial Systems Unit, Trivandrum; SK Shivkumar, director, ISTRAC, Bangalore; A Bhaskaranarayana, director, SCP / scientific secretary, ISRO, Bangalore; AS Kiran Kumar, DD, SEDA, Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad; Dr George Koshy, MD, PSLV-C11; Dr TGK Murthy, programme director, ASP, ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore.

Director general of CII Chandrajit Banerjee said, "This is great privilege and honour for CII to felicitate this tremendous achievement. The session today has been interesting and informative for CII."

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