HYDERABAD: India’s new space boss will fly in a direction that few of his predecessors have attempted before: Space sector reforms.
In a sense, Dr S. Somanath, recently appointed as chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), will be giving wings to budding space scientists and widening the Space sector.
He will also oversee the launch of the first elements of India’s first human space flight endeavour, Gaganyaan. “Opening up of the space sector is the most important priority. For that to happen, we need to define what are the elements of an opening up,” Dr Somanath told Deccan Chronicle in one of his first interviews to the media after taking the new charge at Isro. “For example, the overall space sector is going to be a much bigger entity. I call it Space Enterprise for India," Dr Somanath said.
The new chief wants to ensure that there is a continuous series of rocket launches and would accelerate preparations for Gaganyaan, which envisages undertaking the demonstration of human Space flight to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in the short-term. This, he says, will mean laying the foundation for a sustained Indian human space exploration programme. This is in addition to important priority missions such as the much-awaited Chandrayaan III, the third lunar mission and Aditya L1, which will be inserted in a halo orbit around the ‘Lagrangian point 1 (L1)’.
The Lagrangian point 1 (L1) is a spot in space, 1.5 million km away, where the gravitational forces of the Earth and the Sun are in balance. Spacecraft in L1 need little fuel to maintain their position.
Parking a spacecraft in L1 gives scientists the advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation or eclipse. There are four other Lagrangian points in the Earth-Sun system....