India Catches Astronaut Fever

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

Bangalore: Astronaut Camp launched

The Astronaut Camp, first-of-its-kind outside the US, was launched in Karnataka by a Pune- based company – – ‘Mission Apollo’. The camp, aimed at developing leadership skills along with environment study, space exploration and honing the personalities of young minds to face greater challenges of tomorrow, began yesterday at Dandelli, about 500 km from here.


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.

ESA Chief to Propose that China, South Korea and India Join ISS Program

International Space Station
International Space Station

Space News has some interesting ISS news from Europe:

The head of the 18-nation European Space Agency (ESA) on Feb. 2 roundly endorsed the new direction U.S. President Barack Obama proposed for NASA, saying a firmer U.S. commitment to the international space station and space-based Earth science would further tighten trans-Atlantic cooperation.

In an interview, ESA Director-General Jean-Jacques Dordain also said his agency was ready to propose to NASA and the other space station partners — Russia, Japan and Canada — that China, India and South Korea be invited to join the station partnership.


India Sets 2016 for First Human Spaceflight

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

India plans manned space mission in 2016

India will launch its first manned space mission in 2016 in a bid to match space pioneers such as Russia and the United States, a top official said Wednesday.

The government had already approved plans for a human space flight project by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and last year gave the go-ahead for funding of around 2.8 billion dollars.


ISRO, KARI to Cooperate on Space

South Korea and India have agreed to deepen their cooperation in a wide range of technological areas, including space:

The KARI-ISRO pact outlines future cooperation in space communication, ways to enhance capabilities of remote control probes and promote growth of space-related sciences.


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: More Domestic Instruments for Chandrayaan-II


India is looking to put more domestically produced instruments on its Chandrayaan-II moon mission. The country’s first lunar spacecraft contained 11 instruments, six of which were supplied by foreign organizations.

Mylswamy Annadurai, Project Director of Chandrayan Mission II, ISRO, on Monday said that there would be more indigenous components in country’s second moon mission….


India Hopes to Replicate Huntsville Space and Rocket Center

Huntsville_rocket_centerIndia wants a space center, too
The Huntsville Times

Huntsville’s U.S. Space & Rocket Center has shown legions of children and adults how space exploration can be used to improve life on Earth, and now India wants to duplicate that inspiration by building its own teaching museum, the nation’s chief diplomat said Monday.


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.


India Aims for the Moon


India’s space ambitions taking off
The Washington Post

The ambitions of the 46-year-old national space program could vastly expand India’s international profile in space and catapult it into a space race with China. China, the only country besides the United States and Russia to have launched a manned spacecraft, did so six years ago.


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.


Agreement Allows India to Target U.S. Satellite Launch Market


ISRO to tap US satellite launch market post tech agreement news

The Indo-US Technology Safeguard Agreement (TSA) signed recently will now allow India to launch non-commercial, US-made satellites from its spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, according to ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair. A proposed Commercial Space Launch Agreement will allow the commercial segment of the US market to be tapped.


Jeff Foust on the Asian Space Race


The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has a radio interview with Jeff Foust on the subject of Asia’s growing prowess in space. An excerpt:

LAM: And Jeff, even NASA believes that China can send its own manned mission to the moon within ten years. Quite how good are the Chinese?

FOUST: Well, the Chinese human space flight program is making progress, but it’s doing it at a fairly slow rate. They are only doing one man mission every two to three years, that’s a relatively slow rate. It’s not the rate that you would expect from a country that’s really racing to get to the moon before the United States and anyone else. Certainly, I think their long term ambitions do include human missions to the moon. I don’t think we will see that before 2020. In fact, some Chinese officials talk about doing human lunar missions sometime around 2025 or 2030, which is probably a little more realistic based on the current progress, as well as their current interest focusing more on human missions in earth orbits in developing a small series of small stations.

Read the full interview.