Emerging Powers Brazil, India Look To Space Cooperation

AEB PR — The two emerging powers need to define forms and fields of cooperation in space. The full awareness of this growing need was clear during a meeting of  Ambassador of India, BS Prakash, the President of the Brazilian Space Agency, Professor Marco Antonio Raupp, on Tuesday.

Outline was agreed by the end of the year, the concrete fields of cooperation to be effective, based on mutual interests and participation of companies from both countries. It was also agreed to devote special attention to the program in future meetings Satellite IBSA forum approved by India, Brazil and South Africa. The technical characteristics of these satellites have begun to be developed.

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Scientist Appointed to Lead ISRO’s Commercial Arm

ISRO PR — Dr. VS Hegde, Outstanding Scientist and Scientific Secretary, ISRO has been appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director of Antrix Corporation Limited of the Department of Space.

Dr Hegde, an expert in remote sensing applications, has over three decades of experience in ISRO, and has contributed immensely in the areas of Earth Observation, Disaster Management Support and Societal Development Programmes.

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ISRO Chairman: Cryogenic Engine Test Set for Next March

At Livemint.com, Jacob P. Koshy has an insightful Q&A with ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan, who discusses the state of cryogenic engine development, Chandrayaan-II, and the future of the GSLV rocket.

Among the key takeaways:

  • Engineers are investigating several possible causes for why ISRO’s first cryogenic upper stage failed on a GSLV launch in April 2010;
  • The complexity of the investigation has pushed the next cryogenic engine test back to March 2012, about a year later than officials originally hoped;
  • A GSLV rocket failed on Christmas Day because the Russian supplied cryogenic engine was not built to dimensions specified in documentation, causing a protective shroud to give way and snap vital connectors;
  • The Chandrayaan-II lunar probe, set for launch around 2013, is being delayed not only because of problems with cryogenic upper stage technology but also due to Russia’s decision to reduce its contribution to the joint program;
  • ISRO is aiming for greater transparency and a more arms-length relationship with Antrix, its commercial arm.

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India Plans Hypersonic Vehicle Tests By Early Next Year

DRDO likely to test fly hypersonic plane by early next year
Brahmand.com

DRDO expects to test fly India’s indigenous hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle (HSDTV) by early next year, the defence agency’s Chief V K Saraswat said Friday.

“We have conducted ground testing of the vehicle for nearly 20 seconds. It has performed well. We are hopeful to flight test it by early next year at Mach 6-7 speed,” Saraswat told reporters during Aero India 2011…

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ISRO Partners with JPL on Proposed MoonRise Lunar Sample Return Mission

ISRO announces new moon mission with US’ Jet Propulsion Lab
DNA

The Space Commission, India’s apex space policy body, today gave ISRO the go-ahead to partner with JPL, which has sent missions to Mars and Venus, for the project names ‘Moon Rise’ which could be launched by NASA.

ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has invited proposals under its New Frontiers Programme announced in 2009.

As per the cooperation agreement, ISRO will send a satellite to orbit around the moon to transmit data to earth from rover JPL plans to send to the lunar surface.

As part of the project, JPL plans to drop a robotic lander into a basin at the moon’s south pole to return lunar rocks back to Earth for study.

The mission, if selected, would be launched in 2016.

Read the full story.

Editor’s Note: I found this paper about the proposed mission. The mission summary reads:

MoonRise will land in the interior of the SPA Basin at a location determined by analysis of existing orbital data and selected using criteria for science and mission safety. MoonRise will document the geologic context of the landing site with descent imaging and high resolution and multi-spectral surface imaging, and will sieve a volume of soil near the lander to collect thousands of rock fragments. The regolith, well mixed from impact processes, is expected to yield small rock fragments that represent a broad area of the SPA Basin interior. The main lithologic components are impact generated rocks from the basin formation and from the formation of other large impact craters and basins within SPA. Sample materials will be returned to Earth for mineralogical, chemical, and petrologic analyses, and isotopic age determinations in state-of-the-art laboratories. Following a preliminary examination by the MoonRise science team at the Curatorial Facility at Johnson Space Center, MoonRise samples will be made available for allocation to – and study by – the scientific community worldwide.

The Lunar Networks blog also has a detailed overview.

Boeing Looks to Partner with ISRO on Human Spaceflight Program

Boeing is looking to partner with ISRO on its human spaceflight program:

Aerospace behemoth Boeing plans to make the most of opportunities tossed up by removal of technology embargo with offers to partner Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in major projects.

The aerospace major has picked two key projects—the advanced medium combat aircraft (ACMA) being designed by DRDO and human space programme of ISRO—as ones with potential for partnership in future.

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U.S. Lifts Export Restrictions on ISRO, DRDO

US removes ISRO, DRDO from export control list
Deccan Herald

Fulfilling a promise made by President Barack Obama in November, the US has removed nine Indian space and defence-related companies from the so-called Entity List to drive hi-tech trade and forge closer strategic ties with India.

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Russian President Medvedev Sees Deeper Cooperation With India in Space

The Russian President’s website has the transcript of an interview that Dmitry Medvedev recently gave to The Times of India. He talks about deepening Russo-Indian cooperation in a broad range of areas, including space.  Cooperating in space will take the form of lunar exploration, space science, human spaceflight, and the GLONASS satellite navigation system.

An excerpt from the interview follows after the break.

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Carla Bruni, Spouse Visit Bangalore; Agreements Announced With EADS Astrium, Arianespace

Some news on Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to India, which included a stop at ISRO and the announcement a pair of commercial agreements:

Much like British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy chose to start his visit to India from Bangalore.

After landing at the HAL Airport, Sarkozy along with his wife Carla Bruni, ministers and business delegates, headed to the ISRO Satellite Centre where he was briefed on the Megha- Tropiques satellite, which is being co-developed by India and France.

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French President Becomes Latest Foreign Leader to Seek Deeper Space Ties With India

Sarkozy to address ISRO scientists
Sify.com

Indian space agency ISRO is gearing up to host French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni at its headquarters here Saturday and will interact with top scientists.

According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) officials, Sarkozy will be at ISRO office between 12.30 p.m. and 1.40 p.m. Saturday.

He will be arriving in India Dec 4 on a four-day visit, during which India and France are likely to further increase cooperation in civil nuclear energy.

India and France are jointly developing two satellites that are expected to be launched sometime next year. One of them is Megha Tropiques mission to study the water cycle in the tropical atmosphere and the other is SARAL (Satellites for Argos and Altika) to monitor the sea water level.

Read the full story.

India Taking Step-by-Step Approach to Developing Hypersonic SSTO

Brahmand.com takes a look at India’s step-by-step approach to developing reusable hypersonic launch vehicles:

The RLV will loft a satellite into orbit and immediately re-enter the atmosphere and glide back for a conventional landing. The RLV and the rocket booster will be recovered separately, with the former making a conventional landing on a runway and booster making a parachute landing.

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India to Build New Hypersonic Wind Tunnel

DRDO to invest in Rs1,000-crore defence avionics facility
domain-b.com

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) plans to invest around Rs1,000 crore [$220 million] in Hyderabad over the next five years to boost missile production and build a world-class hypersonic wind tunnel facility to serve the growing demands of strategic systems.

While a sum of Rs600 crore [$132 million] would be invested on expansion of missile production which is being taken up in collaboration with Bharat Dynamics Limited, another Rs350 crore [$77 million] would be made available towards the setting up of the wind tunnel.

The wind tunnel would be used to test systems for missiles, aircraft and re-entry vehicles flying at hypersonic speed – (above Mach 5) as against the present facilities to test vehicles of speed up to Mach 5.

Read the full story.

Agreement on Indian Launches of U.S. Satellites Still Under Negotiation

ISRO's PSLV-C15 rocket
ISRO's PSLV-C15 rocket lifts off with five satellites aboard on July 12, 2010.

No pact likely on US commercial satellite launch by ISRO
Indian Express

With the US still in the process of finalising export reforms on commercial satellites by restructuring the US Munitions List on spacecraft, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is not expecting to see a much anticipated Commercial Satellites Launch Agreement (CSLA) inked during the visit of US President Barack Obama later this week.

The CSLA, seen as a progression on a Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA) signed in July 2009 during the visit of the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will allow US commercial satellites or satellites with US components to be launched on ISRO space vehicles, significantly opening up the nearly $2 billion global space launch business for India.

The CSLA has been on the negotiating table for high technology partnerships between the two countries for a long time now and is considered by ISRO officials to be close to agreement.

Read the full story.