India’s space science to be in public good

Kolkata, June 30 (IANS) As India gears up for the July 1 launch of its first dedicated navigational satellite, noted space scientist Y.S. Rajan says the nation’s future technological innovations in the field will be largely civilian applications and in the “public good”.

“Space technology to a very great extent will be application-driven. It will require investments. Some of them will give returns like television, communication, whereas some of them will be for public good like remote sensing, cyclone tracking. So given that, it will be predominantly around application, but it will not stop at that,” Rajan, an honorary distinguished professor, department of space, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told IANS in an interview.

Rajan, who has made significant contributions to Indian space science in his former role as scientific secretary to ISRO, reckons that after the country has satiated its thirst for advancements in the current areas of interest (communication, television, remote sensing, navigation, etc.), it will concentrate on space sciences like trying to understand asteroids.

“When we have these things reasonably satisfied, then it will focus on space sciences. That is the most exciting thing. But the way we look at universe now…so much is being contribution is very high. There are several unexplored areas still,” said Rajan on the sidelines of an interactive session on “Educating the Future Mind” at the Bengal Chamber here.

With only a few countries in the fray for space studies, Rajan believes that India is at par in the fields (related to space technology) it has chosen to step in.

“Its not a question of getting into one to one comparison; only a few countries are space savvy. India had a focus and decided what it has to do and is evolving ..say navigation was not an important one earlier.

“It was communication, television, remote sensing and meteorology. Now navigation becomes very necessary; so it is evolving and now the one that is going is for navigation. Whatever they choose to do , it is world class,” Rajan who also chairs the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Manipur, told IANS.

The scientist maintained that “civilian applications and advancement of science” remain at the heart of ISRO’s initiatives.

“Position location becomes important; that is why navigation is there. But ISRO’s prime focus is on civilian applications and advancement of science,” added Rajan.

On July 1, India’s first dedicated navigational satellite IRNSS-1A wll be launched by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV – C22 from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

(Sahana Ghosh can be contacted at [email protected])

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