Chandrayaan II in three years, says former ISRO Chief Dr. K. Radhakrishnan

ISRO KRMumbai (ISJ) ? India?s Chandrayaan II could be possible in the next three years, with the national space agency close to developing a lander and a rover for the mission, said Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, who headed Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO till recently and steered its successful mission to Mars and developing an indigenous cryogenic technology, said in Mumbai on Saturday (Jan 03). Addressing the opening session at the 102nd Indian Science Congress at the campus of Mumbai University, Dr. Radhakrishnan said, the technology denial regime has helped Indian scientists to develop its own robotic lander and rover. He said, while the development of the rover is going on, the studies for lander is complete and it will be ready by 2017.

Radhakrishnan is credited for the success of the Mars Orbiter Mission, MOM, which saw India launching the cheapest satellite to study the red planet. During his stewardship, ISRO made several landmarks like developing an indigenous cryogenic engine, in the face of technology denial regime, launching India?s next generation launch vehicle ? GSLV Mark III and the successful test flight of re-entry crew module ? a step closer to realising manned missions into space.

Dr. Radhakrishnan said India?s planetary exploration has three main targets ? Moon, Mars and the Sun. While the first explorations to Moon and Mars were completed successfully, a mission to Sun ?Aditya or Solar Mission, to send a satellite to the ?L 1? point ? 1.5 million kilometeres away from the earth?s orbit is now under the consideration of ISRO.

He said a manned mission to Moon or Mars requires development of advanced technologies like crew module, environment or ecosystem in the crew module, reliability of the satellite and an effective escape mechanism in case of exigency.

?A successful human interplanetary mission depends on developing all these technologies,? said Dr. Radhakrishnan.

Since the launch of first satellite Aryabhatta, India has launched 190 space missions so far. During the first 25 years, ISRO launched 40 satellites, another 40 satellites in the next ten years, 37 satellites during the next five years and six satellites in the last six months, said the space scientist.

Dr. Radhakrishnan said, ISRO is working with Indian industry ? both state-run and private, and will be in a position to build a PSLV entirely by the industry in the next three to five years. He said, as of now industry is a partner in ISRO?s space missions and about 300 firms are closely working with the space agency.

With the recent successes in space missions taking the country amongst the top five or six space technologies in the world, India is now looking for newer areas in space technology to sustain or improve its position said the former ISRO Chief. He said, India?s space programme is application driven ? only ten per cent is space research, while the rest are developing launch capabilities and communication, navigation and remote-sensing applications.

By N.B. Nair

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