ISRO may join global space station

The invite marks recognition of ISRO as a global space research leader

The Indian space giant has received an invitation to join the multilateral project that will host a research facility in outer space, ISRO Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) Director S K Shivakumar said.

Shivakumar, at an interaction organised by Karnataka Rajya Vijnana Parishat with students on Thursday said “Lots of countries are involved in this (ISS) mission. While India has not taken part so far, we do have an invitation to join.”

While commenting that India “should” participate in the project, he said ISRO will first do a feasibility study as to what they can and cannot do. Last year, then ISRO Chairman Madhavan Nair had said that India planned to provide its own manned spacecraft to the ISS.

Currently, the ISS is a joint project between the space agencies of the United States, European Union, Russia, Japan and Canada.

The mission envisages assembling a research facility in low earth orbit where experiments in biology, chemistry, physics, and astronomy will be conducted.  The project was initially planned to run till 2015, but now may be extended to 2020.

Talking on upcoming projects, Shivakumar said India’s first dedicated astronomy satellite Astrosat is set to be launched early next year. The instruments on board will cover both Ultraviolet and hard X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, he said. “The data obtained from this satellite will be useful for our research institutes to study space”, he added.

Indo-French joint mission

The other project set to be launched is the Megha-Tropiques, which is a Indo-French joint mission for the study of water cycle and energy exchange in the Tropics. The satellite will feature three sophisticated instruments -- MADRAS, SCARAB, and SAPHIR -- for studying the weather and climate of the tropical region.

On the failure of the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) in April, Shivakumar said that ISRO has learnt from its mistakes and is set to test the indigenous cryogenic technology next year.

“In the meantime we have obtained six stages from Russia, which will be utilised for the launch of INSAT-5B in December,” he said.

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