U.S. Moves Forward on Lifting Curbs on ISRO, DRDO

U.S. likely to lift ban on ISRO, DRDO soon
The Hindu

The U.S., which imposed curbs on trade with defence entities like ISRO and DRDO following India’s nuclear tests in 1998, has set in motion regulatory changes to lift the ban soon, thus fulfilling a commitment made by President Barack Obama.

A formal notification to lift the ban by the U.S. Department of Commerce for this purpose is in advanced stage, top U.S. officials said.
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ISRO Forms Committees to Investigate GSLV Failure, Future

GSLV F06 Failure — Preliminary Findings and Further Steps
ISRO Press Release — December 31, 2010

1. The performance of the GSLV-F06 flight of December 25, 2010 (with GSAT-5P Satellite onboard) was normal up to 47.5 seconds from lift-off. The events leading to the failure got initiated at 47.8 seconds after lift-off. Soon, the vehicle started developing larger errors in its orientation leading to build-up of higher angle of attack and higher structural loads and consequently vehicle broke up at 53.8 seconds from lift-off (as seen visually as well as from the Radars).

As per the Range safety norms, a destruct command was issued from the ground at 64 seconds after lift-off. The flight was hence terminated in the regime of the First Stage itself.

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Did Excessive Weight Doom ISRO’s GSLV Rocket?

Some interesting speculation on what caused the Christmas Day failure of India’s GSLV rocket:

Instability introduced by excessive payload weight was most likely responsible for the failure of an Indian rocket’s launch on Christmas day, an expert in the field and former scientist of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) says.

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Indian Rocket Launch Lasts 63 Seconds, Deposits Satellite in Bay of Bengal

Indian space program hit by another launch mishap
Spaceflight Now

India’s largest rocket lost control and erupted in a fireball Saturday, dealing another blow to the country’s space program after back-to-back failures of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle….

Trouble struck the rocket less than a minute after liftoff, when video footage showed the vehicle veering from its flight path, tumbling out of control and being engulfed in a fireball.

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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.

UKSA Seeks Indian Cooperation on TechDemoSat, Launches CubeSat Payload Competition

Following up on a visit to India by Prime Minister David Cameron, British Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts visited the ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) this week to explore deeper space collaboration between the two nations. The Deccan Herald reports:

As a first concrete example of this strengthened partnership, Willetts invited India to partner with the UK in its TechDemoSat programme.

TechDemoSat is an industry-led technology demonstration satellite which aims to provide a low-Earth-orbit test bed to help demonstrate the technical maturity and commercial viability of innovative new space technology.

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Indian, Chinese Rivalry Complicates U.S. Space Diplomacy

I found an interesting article that looks at the delicate balance that the United States must keep as it attempts to expand cooperation in space with both China and India, whose fierce rivalry for dominance in Asia is spilling over into the building of geo-positioning systems, ballistic missile defense, and satellite-killing spacecraft.

China’s determination to hold the option of denying the use of space-based capabilities to other states was illuminated in its successful test of an anti-satellite weapon in January 2007, eliminating an old Chinese weather satellite. Building upon this experience, Beijing conducted its first ballistic missile defense (BMD) test on 11 January 2010.

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Obama Paves Way for Deeper Cooperation With India

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

Curbs on DRDO, ISRO go
Deccan Herald

US President Barack Obama on Saturday made the much-awaited announcement of taking important Indian defence and space research institutions like the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Hyderabad-based Bharat Dynamics Limited off the high-tech ban list.

Speaking at an Indo-US business meeting, Obama said the “dual-use” rules, by which high-tech exports by American manufacturers to the DRDO and ISRO are banned, would be amended and updated. The “dual use” refers to technology that can be utilised for both civilian and defence purposes.

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Kalam-NSS Initiative Aimed at Producing Cheap Clean Power from Space

National Space Society Chairman Mark Hopkins held a press conference this morning in which he unveiled more details of the Kalam-NSS Initiative, a joint U.S.-Indian effort aimed at building clean space-based solar power satellites.

Hopkins said that the program would combine American technology and low-cost Indian manufacturing to generate jobs and clean energy in both countries. A vibrant space solar power program would make the nations net energy exporters instead of importers.

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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.

NSS, India to Launch Space-Based Solar Power Initiative

NSS PRESS RELEASE

The National Space Society will hold a press conference Thursday, November 4 at the National Press Club to reveal one of the first initiatives ever undertaken by a non-profit American organization and a former head of state. That initiative pairs India’s eleventh President, Dr. A.P.J. Kalam with America’s National Space Society. Its name? The Kalam-NSS Energy Initiative.

The Kalam-NSS Energy Initiative’s goals? To solve the global energy crisis. To solve the global carbon crisis. And to solve America’s next generation jobs crisis. How? By harvesting solar power in space.

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