An Open Letter to ISRO Chief K. Sivan on Promoting STEM Education in India

To
K. Sivan
Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation

As the premier research establishment in the country, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has done a great job of creating technological capacity in an area as critical as space. ISRO’s rockets, missions to the Moon and Mars and applications tailored to cater to the problems of humans and society are all laudable.

Today, there is a growing inequality in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in India. In the 21st century, we need our children to learn certain skills and design-based learning to spur curiosity and innovation. There is also a conspicuous issue of lack of resources to invest in building teaching capacity and creating experiment-based hands-on learning environments at the grassroots level, and this affects the quality of graduates in India.… Click here to read the complete article

Time for India to Consider a Special Track for Space Startup Incubation

Believe it or not, today, there are over a thousand startups focusing on space around the world. Yet we only see a handful of startups emerge out of India even though we live in one of the only emerging global powers that has the ability to build, launch, operate and use satellites and rockets. With a network of possibly 500 small-and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) supporting India’s space activities, the country’s share of these space startups is less than 1%.

The most notable startups in India today include TeamIndus (aiming to land a rover on the Moon as part of the Google Lunar XPrize), Astrome Technologies (developing satellite-based broadband) and Bellatrix Aerospace (developing thrusters with a vision to eventually develop their own launch vehicle).… Click here to read the complete article

The Future of India’s Commercial Spaceflight Is Closely Tied to the PSLV’s

India’s vehicle of choice for getting to space for the last two decades has undoubtedly been the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Barring a recent, and arguably minor, failure during its C39 mission (the payload fairings did not deploy), the PSLV has an enviable record of flying 39 successful missions in 24 years.

Given a recent and increasing demand for launches to low-Earth orbit (LEO) – from within the country as well as from foreign satellite-makers, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has taken a proactive step to produce the PSLV at an industrial scale.

Additionally, as a buildup to some interesting demands by the small-satellites community, among others, the PSLV team has demonstrated the vehicle’s ability to switch orbits within a single mission by reactivating its fourth stage motor.… Click here to read the complete article

India’s draft Space Activities Bill if ignored may kill its private industry aspirations

India has been performing space activities for over 50 years now. Led by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), we have acquired the ability to build satellites, launch vehicles, ground control to serve the people of India with space-based services. Space is acting as an enabler today to provide several services such Direct-To-Home (DTH) broadcasting, VSAT for bank ATM machines, weather services, disaster management (search and rescue), navigation services, imagery based Geographical Information Systems (GIS) products among others.

In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a national meet of top officials of different Ministries and State Governments on use of space applications in daily governance that included 1500 delegates mainly being Secretaries of Central Ministries/ Departments.Click here to read the complete article

NewSpace India – Creating a dynamic ecosystem for space entrepreneurship

NewSpace is a movement of firebrand entrepreneurs starting companies around the world targeting commercial opportunities for innovative space products/services. They are being backed mainly by private risk capital (mostly venture firms) with an expectation that the innovation pursued by these entrepreneurs will integrate into the economy here on the Earth, creating value towards a meaningful exit.

NewSpace – Changing the ecosystem slowly, but surely!

Today, NewSpace companies are springing up almost on a weekly basis and there is a strong reason to believe that today there are over 1000 NewSpace companies around the world. They are embedding themselves across the value chain from upstream to downstream, with each of them trying to bring a new layer of innovation by different methods (e.g.… Click here to read the complete article

ISRO’s Beginnings – Memories of a Systems Engineer of the early 70s

Prelude

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) evolved from late 1960’s with two collaborative institutions. The Space Application Center (SAC) in Ahmedabad collaborated with NASA and Bengaluru ISRO collaborated with Russian space agency. Both were separated and no communications existed in the beginning due to cold war issues. I had more knowledge of SAC since I joined SAC in 1971.
This article only provides more on SAC and its impact on Indian Space Program with the success stories of the beginning.

 

In the Beginning

Early hires in SAC came with military background and some of them also worked in RCA Earth Station in Pune.… Click here to read the complete article

GSLV Mark III and the road ahead

June 5, 2017 will go down as a historic date for the Indian space programme with the success of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launching the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III (GSLV Mk-III) in its full-fledged maiden flight. In this success, ISRO also breaks free of the first-time launch jinxes for India which the Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV), Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk II (GSLV Mk II) faced during their first flights.

Although ISRO had tested the GSLV Mk III’s solid motor on a previous mission, June 5 was the first time the launch vehicle was being flown with an upgraded cryogenic engine.… Click here to read the complete article

GSAT-17 – the latest in a long line of ‘Made in India, for India’ communication satellites

GSAT-17, launched on an Ariane 5 rocket today, is the 31st communication satellite to roll off ISRO’s production lines.

The very first one was APPLE, the ‘Ariane Passenger Payload Experiment’, which the European Space Agency launched for free on their fledgling Ariane 1 rocket 36 years ago. This experimental spacecraft was, as an ISRO brochure noted at the time, “conceived as a stepping stone towards future operational national communication satellites which can provide communication, direct TV broadcast and meteorological services from a geostationary orbit.”

The first such operational communication satellite designed and built by ISRO, INSAT-2A, went into space, again on an Ariane rocket, in July 1992.… Click here to read the complete article

Space Entrepreneurship – Indian Space Conclave 2017

Students for Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) is a worldwide student-run chapter that aims to impart knowledge about space and astronomy. SEDS educates people about the benefits of space by providing opportunities. SEDS India is the governing body of all SEDS student chapters across the country.

SEDS – India, founded in 2004, is a parent organisation which currently constitutes 8 chapters in various colleges around India. The headquarters of SEDS India resides at VIT University. SEDS-VIT has contributed immensely to the development of space technology with projects such as NASA’s CanSat, ERC’16 and SpaceX Hyperloop.

The global rise of space start-ups in recent years has triggered a mass shift of young scientists and researchers towards the field of aerospace and space science.… Click here to read the complete article