Bits and Pieces
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Saturday, May 10, 2003  

Good Day at Office
Hats off to the ISRO scientists for having propelled India one-step closer towards super stardom in the Space Arena. They did that with the launch of GSLV-D2 (the latest in the series of geosynchronous vehicles), which will certainly give the scientists the confidence to help India reach out for the Moon, quite literally. While the PSLV (yeah it might remind you of a Tamil belle) launch in October 2002 confirmed India’s capability, with this launch, ISRO has proved its ability to carry heavier payloads. There have been times when I passionately collected news items on the Indian space programme and anything to do with the GSLV mission would spur my interest in joining ISRO, someday or the other (just one of the many wishes).

Picture Courtesy: isro.orgFast-forward to this day and it is such a satisfying feeling to know that ISRO has actually done it, after all GSLV-D2 has been the most challenging assignments in all these years of ISRO’s existence. This event reminds me of several articles that I read on India’s other planned missions. Most interesting among them are AVATAR, DURGA and KALI (couldnt help wonder how these abbreviations would have come about). While I can give a brief look into each of these, the article here makes interesting reading. AVATAR is India’s ambitious hyperplane, that can enter space and re-enter earth’s atmosphere apart from carrying payloads weighing upto a ton. DURGA and KALI are advanced systems that can act as surveillance systems as well as hit at incoming missiles using laser-based technologies, on the lines of Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars project. With the Kargil failure looming over its head, the defense structure would do well to have a constellation of military satellites and that exactly is the purpose of the proposed SANJAYA project. As of now, our best view from the sky is through TES (Technology Experiment Satellite, with a panchromatic camera that will have a spatial resolution of 1m...reminds me of ASU's TES). This will be followed by CARTOSAT-1 (resolution of 2.5m, "it can distinguish even a beach umbrella"). Of the proposed projects CARTOSAT-2 comes second next to a US-Israel project that has a 0.5m capability).

With a technical manpower of over 10,000, ISRO is all set to launch India as a Superpower, a responsible one at that, in a couple of decades. As for answering the damned Western speculations, India has one of the best 'applications driven space programmes' and there has never been a country that has enjoyed its freedom with responsibility as her.

>> GSAT-2 sent yesterday is the heaviest satellite launched in India.
>> Business Line, on the commerce behind ISRO's future projects.
>> GSLV MK-III : Generation Next.

Wishes to Ms. Anjali Vedpathak Bhagwat too, for winning India’s first individual Gold medal at a Shooting World Cup. There have been discussions on the Indian race being genetically weaker in comparison to the Europeans or other ‘winners’ in general. Wonder what Anjali’s genetic make-up is. And hey, shooting demands lot of physical strength. Anjali has been an Olympic finalist, only the second Indian woman (after P.T Usha, of course) and her other records, including her remarkable European tour prior to the World Cup, speak for her determination.

I have tried my hand at this sport, while with NCC. Although it was a memorable experience, I found it very difficult to concentrate for a round of 10 shots, and in that regard I just couldn’t imagine this lady’s prowess that was tested through a whole gamut of hurdles. 399 perfect shots out of 400? Man that’s amazing.

>> The Indian team of shooters still does not have a Coach? Pathetic.

Follow-through:
>> The lunar project that ISRO envisions is already being remarked as ‘a foolhardy exercise’. In my opinion, if India wishes to surge ahead of the rest of the pack this one project can do wonders towards that direction. With the President (a product of ISRO) doing a wonderful job by mingling with the student community, there should be no dearth in interest amongst them. Imagine then, the possibilities that will follow a probe of the moon's surface by an Indian spacecraft! A brief review of the last lunar mission (the Americans did that way back in 1972, almost the time when ISRO bloomed) explains this point. I am talking about Apollo 17. That mission spurred the American industry because of renewed interest in engineering. Industries that benefitted varied from microelectronics to farming. The results are apparent.

Not convinced? Think again.

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