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China’s space test unethical: ISRO chief
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, February 5
In the first reaction by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to the missile “killing” of an ageing satellite by China, its Chief G. Madhavan Nair today termed the act as unethical and said no technological superiority could be said to have been achieved by the success of the experiment.

“Actually this is not a good thing to happen,” Mr Nair told TNS here today. He said the killing of the satellite had resulted in the creation of debris which could be extremely hazardous to other satellites in the same orbit.

The ISRO Chairman said China’s act was also against international conventions and said India should exert pressure on China to ensure such kind of experiments were not carried out in outer space. He said the issue was also a cause of concern for the international community because such acts could result in weaponisation of outer space.

Mr Nair said India was well equipped to carry out the same exercise. “We have a number of rockets which can achieve the same results,” he said.

However, he said, India was committed to the philosophy of using space for peaceful purposes only and was not planning to conduct any such similar experiment.

Speaking about the future projects of ISRO, Mr Nair said the manned mission to the moon had come into focus after senior scientists had asserted that the space agency possessed the requisite expertise to undertake a manned mission to the moon.

He said the Centre had given the go-ahead for conducting a detailed study of the project. “The project report should be finalised by the end of the year,” he added. ISRO hopes to undertake the project - called Chandrayan-2 by 2010 at a cost of around Rs 10,000 crore, according to the ISRO chief. He said the country hopes to gain experience from the launch of Chandrayan-1, a 500 kg satellite, which will be placed in a lunar orbit, this year. He said the satellite would look for chemicals like Helium-3 and water besides carrying experiments, including six of the international community.

Mr Nair said the country was also looking into ways and means of constructing a Reusable Launch Vehicle. He said presently only the United States had a shuttle whereby it was able to recover the upper part but not the lower part. “We want to re-use both parts of the rocket so as to reduce the cost of re-launches”. He said the first stage of the rocket would travel up to 100 km while the second stage would go up to 500 km.

He said the project, conceived for 2020, would entail development of hypersonic aerodynamics, integrated winged body and thermal management which would be the focus of R and D specialists for the next five years. “Once we develop these technologies only then we will go in for engineering design,” he added.

Aerospace command soon: Tyagi

Last month, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal S. P. Tyagi had said the country needs an aerospace command, and that the government was aware of the need of such a command, which would be in place “very soon”.

The plan for setting up of the aerospace command at Akkulam in Thiruvananthapuram has been in discussion for close to two years, but has reportedly met resistance from the Navy and the Army, as they fear monopolisation by the IAF of any future aerospace formation.

The aerospace command envisages integration of various components of Air Force, Navy, Army and ISRO to provide protection of nation’s outer space.

The IAF till date has been maintaining that the command will be used for surveillance, reconnaissance and communications purposes and its extension to carry out military operations could be considered later.

However, the need for it has gained strength after China’s latest successful attempt to destroy satellite through missiles.

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Dedicated defence satellite soon
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, February 5
The Indian defence establishment will have a dedicated satellite for the Army, Navy, IAF and other wings under it later this year, according to sources.

The Defence Ministry and several wings under it like the DRDO and ISRO are working on the modalities of launching a Military Satellite Reconnaissance System from the launchpad at Sriharikota.

Sources say work on the satellite is at its final stages and the official launch of the satellite may happen in the next few months. A key feature of this satellite would be high-quality resolution of less than 1m which would make it a very effective eye-in-the-sky.

The satellite launch is part of dedicated networks for the Army, Navy, and IAF. These networks would enable linking up of command headquarters to field units. Naval installations, including warships deep into international waters, would be networked as well.

The defence satellite is part of a project to turn all three services into "network-centric forces", according to sources. For instance, warships of the Navy will have high-speed data networks connected to a secure server built on a 10G backbone.

A number of suppliers have already been lined up for the project. IT firm CMC has bagged the contract from the Navy to equip three warships with IN systems. The warships are currently being built by Mazgaon Docks Ltd. All three ships will have Local Area Networks connecting them to each other and naval headquarters.

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