K. Kasturirangan.  (Photo: HT)
K. Kasturirangan. (Photo: HT)

India all set to put a human in space in its 75th year of Independence, former ISRO Chairman

  • Dr Kasturirangan was ISRO chairman from 1994 to 2003
  • Dr Kasturirangan also said there has never been a better time for India than now, to scale up its inter-planetary space missions

NEW DELHI : With two years left for India to embark on its historic human spaceflight mission, Gaganyaan, former Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Chairman, Dr K Kasturirangan said the agency is making progress and is all set to put a human into space in country's 75th year of independence.

“The scientists are working day-and night, setting up facilities, creating the manpower and tying up with agencies abroad. The ‘Life support system’ is extremely new for ISRO and the scale and complexity of the mission is huge. It is not a small challenge thrown by the present government to space scientists, but they have the will to succeed," said the noted astrophysicist on the sidelines of annual convocation of TERI School of Advanced Sciences, here in New Delhi.

With ISRO also readying a mission to Sun and the Venus, Dr Kasturirangan, the Honorary Advisor to ISRO said there has never been a better time for India than now, to scale up its inter-planetary space missions.

“India should undertake every element of activity that the world can take- every frontiers of complexity, whether it is developing a super plane or developing an under-water robot or developing a robot looking at an asteroid mission or Pluto. If India ever wants to be a five-trillion economy, then it has to have multiple strategies of development and space is one, where we should be right at the top," said Dr Kasturirangan, “while doing this, we will keep exploring the fundamental questions about the solar system. It is part of the process."

Highlighting that the premier agency did the best it could do for Chandrayaan-2, he said there was not direction in which scientists could gather some confidence that the Lander Vikram may function, but they will keep exploring ways to revive. “We must understand that ISRO did the best of its abilities," he added.

Chairman for ISRO for nine years from 1994 to 2003, during which he led the successful flight testing of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), Dr Kasturirangan said, the emerging needs for sustainability have now increased the reliance on satellite data.

“Space has become a vantage point to look at multiple parameters that changed the face of the earth. Every location is mapped by a set of calibrated sensors at frequency of 15 minutes to several hours. You can track all critical elements and assess the action that needs to be taken- Be it water, forests or land-use. It’s not possible with any ground based sensors," he said.