Indo-US cooperation takes flight

Indo-US cooperation takes flight

Nasa to track spacecraft.

The renewed Indo-US space cooperation that formally began in the days of Chandrayaan 1 in 2008,when Isro flew two Nasa instruments,has grown and was evident in the Mars mission.

Much of the trajectory and flight path calculations for the Mangalyaan mission were whetted by scientists at the Nasa jet propulsion laboratory (JPL) and helped Indian scientists achieve greater accuracy.

Three Nasa ground stations will track the Indian spacecraft as it makes its 299-day journey to Mars.

“We know we are on the right track when we compare our data with the data available at JPL. JPL calculations are the benchmark. We have ensured when the satellite reaches Mars,we would be able to say 500 km,plus or minus 60 km,” Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan said before the launch.


The Indo-US space cooperation is set to rise to a new level with the two countries having signed an agreement on September 25 for joint development of a new kind of satellite — sometimes referred to as a spy satellite — that can help provide enhanced imagery of ground situations.

“If you look at US and India — during Chandrayaan 1,it was a good working relation for instruments which gave them the benefit of discovery of water on moon. Nasa ground stations are being used for this mission. Today,we are working together to build a satellite,” Radhakrishnan said.

It is a synthetic aperture radar satellite in L and S bands. “The S and L bands have more penetration capability to see certain features on earth. The S band radar will be made by Isro and the L band by JPL,’’ he said. “We have an agreement to prepare a project report to place before the government. Once the project report is ready,both agencies will get investment approval and 2019-2020 is targeted for launch. This would be the first satellite of its kind in the world.”

Traditional space ties with Russia — which saw the Russians provide the crucial cryogenic stage for the early development flights of GSLV following US sanctions post-1998 — have suffered. A proposed joint Chandrayaan 2 mission with a Russian rover and lander has been modified,with the Russians choosing to pursue own mission.

“After the 2011 Phobos Grunt failure,the Russians had an internal review and they signed out of the programme. Chandrayaan 2 will be going with an Indian lander and an Indian rover. This revised Chandrayaan 2,however,has to be approved by the space commission and the cabinet,’’ an Isro official said.

Pro-Andhra protest

Chennai: A press conference of Isro chief K Radhakrishnan to announce the successful launch of the Mars mission was briefly held up Tuesday as a group of mediapersons protested bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. The protesters waved placards saying ‘Save Andhra Pradesh’ and delayed the press conference,held at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota,Andhra Pradesh,some 80 km from Chennai. Order was restored after Isro officials appealed for decorum to be maintained. ENS