ISRO Names New Propulsion Center Director in Wake Of Cryogenic Engine Failure

GSLV Mark III engine test (Photo: ISRO)
GSLV Mark III engine test (Photo: ISRO)

Six weeks after the failure of its first indigenous cryogenic stage, ISRO has named a new director for the propulsion center charged with developing the space agency’s rocket engines, The Hindu reports:

S. Ramakrishnan, Director (Projects), Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, has been appointed Director of Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He took charge as Director on Monday. The LPSC has the responsibility of developing rocket stages powered by liquid propellants and cryogenic propellants for ISRO missions…

Ramakrishnan has been chairing an accident investigation committee examining the April 15 failure of the GSLV-D3 mission, which included India’s first indigenous cryogenic upper stage. The stage failed to ignite, causing a communications satellite to fall into the Bay of Bengal. It was a major setback for ISRO, which had been working on cryogenic engine technology for 17 years.

Ramakrishnan, who replaces M.K. Gopinathan Nair as LPSC director, previously served as project director of the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle — MARK III program and mission director for several successful Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle launches.

India Prepares to Launch GSLV With New Cryo Engine Amid Controversy

GSLV Mark III engine test (Photo: ISRO)
GSLV Mark III engine test (Photo: ISRO)

A bit more on India’s planned April 15 test of an indigenous cryogenic upper stage, which is proceeding along with some controversy:

Later this month, if the Indian space agency’s attempt to launch its largest rocket, the GSLV-D3 with an indigenous cryogenic engine succeeds, then India will join the elite club of five nations in the world to have successfully developed such technology.

For the country’s rocket scientists, the yet-to-be-achieved breakthrough is significant on two fronts–one, they will achieve self reliance and confidence in space technology. Two, India will emerge as a serious player in the $4 billion global satellite launch market.


ISRO Sees Large Budget Increase as Agency Ramps Up for Human Spaceflight

Mockup of India's human spacecraft (Credit: ISRO)

ISRO budget at Rs 5000 cr; manned mission gets Rs 150 cr
Press Trust of India

India’s human space flight programme got a major boost as the General Budget on Friday proposed a significant allocation to it and also sought increase in funds for setting up an indigenous global positioning system.

The Budget, presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the Lok Sabha, has allocated Rs 150 crore for the human spaceflight programme under which the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to develop a space vehicle to put a two-member crew in space and get them back safely.

The government has already approved pre-project research and development activities in this regard.

The plan allocation for ISRO has been pegged at Rs 5,000 crore [~$1 billion] as against the revised budgetary estimates of Rs 3,172 crore last year.

Read the full story.

India and China Forge Ahead With Satellite Killing Technology

NewScientist reports of a growing arms race in Asia:

India and China are forging ahead with technology that could be used to kill satellites.

An official from India’s Ministry of Defence announced on 3 January that the country is developing a “kill vehicle” with laser vision that could home in on and destroy satellites in orbit.


India Wooing Iran With ISRO Satellite Launch Offer


Delhi reaches out to lonely Tehran, may offer ISRO launch for satellite
Indian Express

New Delhi plans to woo Tehran with offers of greater intelligence sharing, revival of defence training and a possible launch of the latter’s satellite but will remain non-committal on the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.


Father of Indian Space Program Continues U.S. Tour, Urges Cooperation

Former Indian President P J Abdul Kalam
Former Indian President P J Abdul Kalam

Kalam visits birthplace of US space programme
Express India

Former Indian President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam has said he looks forward to the building of scientific and educational relationships between the academic communities of India and US.

Kalam visited the birthplace of US’ space programme, The University of Alabama and toured the NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center last week.


Indian Space Tourism Coming Soon, Lone Cosmonaut Says

rakshak_sharma‘Space tourism possible’
Deccan Chronicle

India now has the potential to operate space tourism from its soil and it will become a reality soon, said cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma.

When asked why India failed to send a cosmonaut for nearly 25 years after he successfully completed his maiden space trip in 1984 when he orbited the earth for a week, he said Isro had a different agenda after his space trip and it focused on space projects to take the benefits of the space research to the common man. Of course, it has impacted human life in a big way as the IT sector, weather forecasting, remote sensing and telemedicine facility in the country developed to a remarkable extent, he added.

Read the full story.

Indian Moon Orbiter Goes Silent After Only Ten Months


ISRO loses radio contact with Chandrayaan-1
The Hindu

In a major blow to India’s maiden mission to the moon, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) abruptly lost contact with Chandrayaan-1 at 01.30 a.m. on Saturday. This means no command can be given to the spacecraft and no data, including images of the moon’s surface, are being received from it.


Prime Minister Lays Cornerstone for New ISRO Campus in New Delhi

PM lays foundation stone of ISRO campus in Delhi
Thaindian News

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday laid the foundation stone of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) first campus in the national capital and urged space scientists to continue their focus on need-based science for nation building.


India Moves Forward on Human Spaceflight as Scientists Eye Mars


A couple of brief updates on ISRO’s activities:

India has begun the process of building a training centre for astronauts, designing a new launch pad and modifying the rockets as preparations for its ambitious manned flight to space gathers momentum.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has drawn up an outline for the training centre, which would come up near the Bengaluru International Airport at Devanahally on the city outskirts, ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair told PTI here.

Nair also told reporters that India plans to send its first robotic spacecraft to Mars between 2013 and 2015, KUNA reports:

He said the Indian Government has earmarked USD two million to carry out relevant studies for the purpose, thereby finding a viable route of the mission and other related details.

“Already mission studies have been completed. Now we are trying to collect scientific proposals and scientific objectives,” the ISRO chief told reporters.

Satellite Operators Push for ITAR Reform


SES, Intelsat Asking Lawmakers to Rethink  Launch Ban on China, India
Space News

The world’s two largest commercial satellite fleet operators, Intelsat and SES, have joined forces to try to persuade Washington policymakers that China and India should be permitted to launch U.S. commercial satellites, according to officials from both companies.

The two companies have secured the full support, if not the active involvement, of the largest U.S. builder of commercial telecommunications spacecraft, Space Systems/Loral, said Patrick DeWitt, Loral’s president.