Martian surface descends at air show

HAL of fame

Martian surface  descends at air show

For most visitors to Aero India 2015, the Mars Orbiter Mission and the Mangalyaan project always meant the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

But aviation major, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) Aerospace division had supplied all the cryogenic stage propellant tanks, the satellite’s light alloy structures and other parts. HAL’s way of setting the records straight: Replicating the Martian surface at its massive stall.

Crowds thronged the enclosure that housed the surface, set against a striking background of outer space. Actual photographs taken by the indigenous Mars spacecraft were stitched together seamlessly to replicate the surface. The models of the PSLV, INSAT and IRS satellites, all of which had HAL-built components, stood out in sync. “The Mars Orbiter version displayed here is a scaled down 1:5 model,” a HAL official explained.

Struck by this arresting imagery, many posed for selfies, while others gave the surface a closer, sharper look. “A lot of people don’t realise how much HAL Aerospace division contributes to each of ISRO’s projects. We expect a huge crowd turnout, experiencing this place and learning more.”

Interactivity seemed the aviation major’s distinct trumpcard this year, as visitors converged at another showpiece just round the corner. The object of their interest was a huge 3 metre by 4 metre screen, acting like a digital mirror and a high-resolution camera capturing the crowd.

 But, it had a designer difference: Helicopters, aircraft and most other products manufactured at HAL emerged on the screen either as moving images or animated forms, overlapping the people. The flurry of mobile phone camera clicks was proof of the crowd’s interest.

The presentation was rich enough to sustain 40 minutes of interactive digital design. The now famous ‘Make in India’ symbol of a metallic lion eventually grabbed much of the screen space, delivering a message hardly subtle!

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