Commerce Secretary Locke Leads High-Tech Trade Mission to India

Gary Locke

Following the removal of sanctions against ISRO and other Indian Organizations, Commerce Department Secretary Gary Locke is leading a six-day trade mission to the subcontinent that begins on Feb. 6. Executives from Boeing and Lockheed Martin are among representatives from 24-high tech companies who will accompany the secretary. Boeing has expressed interest in supplying technologies for India’s planned human spaceflight program.

Jan. 14, 2011

Twenty-four U.S. businesses will join Commerce Secretary Gary Locke for a business development mission to India on February 6-11.  The businesses joining the trade mission are based in 13 states across the country and more than half of them are small- and medium-sized companies.

The delegation, which also includes senior officials from the Export-Import Bank (EX-IM) and the Trade Development Agency (TDA), will make stops in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, where Locke will highlight export opportunities for U.S. businesses in the advanced industrial sectors, of civil-nuclear trade, defense and security, civil aviation, and information and communication technologies. Locke accompanied President Obama to India in November, where they witnessed more than $10 billion in business deals between U.S. companies and Indian private sector and government entities, supporting 50,000 American jobs.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Sarkozy to address ISRO scientists

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.

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.

India Update: Soyuz Flight, Cryo Engines and the Stuxnet Worm

A few brief updates on the Indian space program:

  • RIA Novosti reports that ISRO has nixed a proposal for a solo Soyuz flight that would include two Indian astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut. The mission would be an intermediate step toward India’s effort to launch astronauts aboard its own vehicle. India still wants to cooperate with Russia on human spaceflight. (Via Roscosmos website)
  • Spaceflight Now has a somewhat speculative story about whether ISRO will seek Russian help on its 17-year effort to develop an indigenous cryogenic upper stage. That help could include technical assistance or purchasing additional engines (India has bought seven already). The article notes that the U.S. recently dropped anti-proliferation sanctions against Russia’s Glavkosmos in 1988 that prohibited technical cooperation. ISRO’s attempt to launch its first cryogenic stage failed in April when the engine failed to ignite.
  • ISRO officials have ruled out the possibility that the Insat-4 B satellite was partially crippled by the Stuxnet internet worm, The Economic Times reports. Twelve of the satellites 24  transponders shut down, apparently due to a power glitch.

Russo-Indian Collaboration Eyes Hypersonic Cruise Missile by 2015

The Asian Age reports on a recent Mach 3 test of India’s BrahMos cruise missile. However, India is hoping the BrahMos-II successor will do much more:

The BrahMos could be a laggard when India will become the first country to have cruise missiles that can fly at hypersonic speeds of over 6,000 km per hour. As an agreement for their joint development will be signed with Russia during the visit of the Russian President, Mr Dmitry Medvedev, in December.

The speed of the existing variant of BrahMos is half than that of the proposed ones. The hypersonic missiles are expected to be ready by 2015-16, the sources said.

Read the full story.

Rao: Chandrayaan-2 to Obtain Full Coverage of the Moon This Time

ISRO's Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter

The Times of India has an interesting Q&A interview with U.R. Rao, chairman of the Advisory Committee on Space Sciences that chose the instruments for ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 orbiter and lander. He explains why the U.S. and Europe have been shut out of this mission and describes the failures by its predecessor, Chandrayaan-1, that require a follow-up mission.