Monday, October 13, 2008

Space And Country.

With all the attention focused on national manned space programs and private space entrepreneurs, India's space program often gets overlooked. Well, the world's largest democracy is preparing to send an unmanned spaceship to the moon. (Here.)

After posting this, I finally received this week's edition of The Space Review in my email inbox. Dwayne Day reports on a recent conference on India's space program. Krishnaswami Kasturirangan, former head of India's space program, was a speaker.
"Now that India has not only developed significant space capabilities but also experienced substantial economic growth, the Indian space program has entered into what Kasturirangan describes as its 'expansion phase.' India can afford the luxuries of space science and possibly even human spaceflight. The country’s first lunar spacecraft, Chandrayaan-1, is scheduled for launch later this month. The government has also created the Antrix Corporation to market Indian space capabilities around the world. The country’s next goals are development of a heavy launch vehicle, lunar exploratory missions, a two-stage-to-orbit reusable launch vehicle, human spaceflight, and further international cooperation. (Here.)
Later, Kasturirangan spoke about India's manned space plans.
"Kasturirangan explained that right now India’s government has not officially approved a human spaceflight program. Although he did not say so, other sources have indicated that India will pursue a two-person capsule. ISRO is currently studying technology options and questions and he rattled off a long list, including life support, reentry, tracking and human-rating a launch vehicle, clearly indicating that he was personally familiar with the studies. Only after the Indian space agency has answered these questions and defined the kind of vehicle they want to build, its costs, and the timeframe for the first human space launch, will ISRO officials take those plans to the Indian Parliament for formal approval. Simply put, India’s human space program has not yet been fully defined or approved."

Meanwhile, in other news from the subcontinent, a new solar powered ricksha developed by the Indian government is hitting the streets of New Delhi.
"It's been touted as a solution to urban India's traffic woes, chronic pollution and fossil fuel dependence, as well as an escape from backbreaking human toil.

"A state-of-the-art, solar powered version of the humble cycle-rickshaw promises to deliver on all this and more.

"The 'soleckshaw,' unveiled this month in New Delhi, is a motorised cycle rickshaw that can be pedalled normally or run on a 36-volt solar battery.

"Developed by the state-run Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), prototypes are receiving a baptism of fire by being road-tested in Old Delhi's Chandni Chowk area." (Here.)

-tdr

Republished once to add content.

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