Emerging Powers Brazil, India Look To Space Cooperation

AEB PR — The two emerging powers need to define forms and fields of cooperation in space. The full awareness of this growing need was clear during a meeting of  Ambassador of India, BS Prakash, the President of the Brazilian Space Agency, Professor Marco Antonio Raupp, on Tuesday.

Outline was agreed by the end of the year, the concrete fields of cooperation to be effective, based on mutual interests and participation of companies from both countries. It was also agreed to devote special attention to the program in future meetings Satellite IBSA forum approved by India, Brazil and South Africa. The technical characteristics of these satellites have begun to be developed.


India Launches Comsat on PSLV

ISRO launched the GSAT-12 communications satellite into orbit today from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre aboard the PSLV-C17 rocket. The satellite, which weighs in at 1,410 kg (3,102 lbs.), has 12 Ext-C Band transponders that will augment communication services within India.

Scientist Appointed to Lead ISRO’s Commercial Arm

ISRO PR — Dr. VS Hegde, Outstanding Scientist and Scientific Secretary, ISRO has been appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director of Antrix Corporation Limited of the Department of Space.

Dr Hegde, an expert in remote sensing applications, has over three decades of experience in ISRO, and has contributed immensely in the areas of Earth Observation, Disaster Management Support and Societal Development Programmes.


ISRO Chairman: Cryogenic Engine Test Set for Next March

At Livemint.com, Jacob P. Koshy has an insightful Q&A with ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan, who discusses the state of cryogenic engine development, Chandrayaan-II, and the future of the GSLV rocket.

Among the key takeaways:

  • Engineers are investigating several possible causes for why ISRO’s first cryogenic upper stage failed on a GSLV launch in April 2010;
  • The complexity of the investigation has pushed the next cryogenic engine test back to March 2012, about a year later than officials originally hoped;
  • A GSLV rocket failed on Christmas Day because the Russian supplied cryogenic engine was not built to dimensions specified in documentation, causing a protective shroud to give way and snap vital connectors;
  • The Chandrayaan-II lunar probe, set for launch around 2013, is being delayed not only because of problems with cryogenic upper stage technology but also due to Russia’s decision to reduce its contribution to the joint program;
  • ISRO is aiming for greater transparency and a more arms-length relationship with Antrix, its commercial arm.


ISRO Mulls Foreign Partnerships for Human Spaceflight Program

ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan says that all options are on the table for India’s human spaceflight program, which plans to send astronauts into orbit later in the decade:

“One possibility is to have a human being (Indian) flown in Soyuz (Russian rocket) or some other system. “It’s like paying the money, getting into it, conduct a small experiment and come back. That’s one part of it,” he said.


Former ISRO Chief: ‘Nothing to See Here, Move Along’

Former ISRO’s Chairman K. Kasturirangan said today that the space agency’s positive reputation has not been damaged by the uproar over the controversial S-band satellite deal with Devas Multimedia:

“It is the performance that matters. The organisation has been performing consistently and the scam has not really affected our grit and determination to that level,” Kasturirangan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for over nine years, told IANS.

Ah…yeah. About that first part….

PSLV Launch
Christmas Day, 2010

And eight months earlier….

Well, he did say consistency. So, I guess that is true, actually….

The former ISRO chairman is clearly hoping that future missions will be more consistently successful to further burnish the agency’s image.

“ISRO has so many missions coming up, and all of them are expected to take us higher. One should not go by what is reported in certain circles,” Kasturirangan said.

Good luck with that.

ISRO Chief Too Busy With Scandal to Meet With U.S. Commerce Secretary

Gary Locke

A scheduled meeting between ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke was canceled by the Indian side due to the ongoing Devas Multimedia controversy:

The scheduled meeting between Locke and Radhakrishnan was to take place in Bangalore last week where the commerce secretary also visited the air show. With Isro finally out of the US “entities list”, the meeting was to explore commercial cooperation including satellite launches and other applications.

But with Isro’s commercial arm Antrix precisely in the middle of a controversy surrounding allegations that it sold space-segment airwaves cheaply to Devas Multimedia and the Prime Minister’s Office under opposition fire, Radhakrishnan did not keep his date with Locke. He was busy putting together the government’s defence….


ISRO Partners with JPL on Proposed MoonRise Lunar Sample Return Mission

ISRO announces new moon mission with US’ Jet Propulsion Lab

The Space Commission, India’s apex space policy body, today gave ISRO the go-ahead to partner with JPL, which has sent missions to Mars and Venus, for the project names ‘Moon Rise’ which could be launched by NASA.

ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has invited proposals under its New Frontiers Programme announced in 2009.

As per the cooperation agreement, ISRO will send a satellite to orbit around the moon to transmit data to earth from rover JPL plans to send to the lunar surface.

As part of the project, JPL plans to drop a robotic lander into a basin at the moon’s south pole to return lunar rocks back to Earth for study.

The mission, if selected, would be launched in 2016.

Read the full story.

Editor’s Note: I found this paper about the proposed mission. The mission summary reads:

MoonRise will land in the interior of the SPA Basin at a location determined by analysis of existing orbital data and selected using criteria for science and mission safety. MoonRise will document the geologic context of the landing site with descent imaging and high resolution and multi-spectral surface imaging, and will sieve a volume of soil near the lander to collect thousands of rock fragments. The regolith, well mixed from impact processes, is expected to yield small rock fragments that represent a broad area of the SPA Basin interior. The main lithologic components are impact generated rocks from the basin formation and from the formation of other large impact craters and basins within SPA. Sample materials will be returned to Earth for mineralogical, chemical, and petrologic analyses, and isotopic age determinations in state-of-the-art laboratories. Following a preliminary examination by the MoonRise science team at the Curatorial Facility at Johnson Space Center, MoonRise samples will be made available for allocation to – and study by – the scientific community worldwide.

The Lunar Networks blog also has a detailed overview.

Boeing Looks to Sell CST-100 Capsule Overseas

Boeing's CST-100 crew transport. (Credit: Boeing)

Boeing probes international market for human spacecraft
Spaceflight Now

Boeing is weighing international sales of its CST-100 commercial crew spacecraft if NASA selects the firm to continue development of the capsule, a company official said Wednesday…

“There’s an interesting opportunity that we’re just starting to flesh out,” [John] Elbon said Wednesday. “The spacecraft that we’re designing is rocket-agnostic. It would be possible to sell this like a commercial airplane to countries who perhaps have a launch vehicle who would like to launch it in their own country.”


ISRO Explains S-band Deal

On Thursday, ISRO issued a background note explaining its deal with a private company concerning S-band Internet services. The 2005 no-bid deal between ISRO’s commercial arm, Antrix, and Devas Multimedia, has come under severe criticism and charges of corruption. The government has established a “High Power Review Committee” to look at the deal.

The background note is reproduced in full after the break.


ISRO S-Band Scandal Grows

ISRO is in deep trouble over an insider deal it made involving to allocate valuable S-band spectrum to capabilities with a well-connected media company. The furor over the controversy has been growing daily as critics and government officials spar over details and responsibility.

The 2005 deal between Devas Multimedia and ISRO’s commercial arm, Antrix, involves the space agency building two S-band satellites, GSAT 6 and GSAT 6A, and the company leasing 90 percent of capacity getting use of them to deliver Internet services. ISRO did not actually allocate S-band spectrum to the company, but provided capacity on the satellites to use the spectrum. The scarce S-band spectrum was provided to deal was made with Devas with no competitive bidding. Devas includes two former high-ranking ISRO officials.


Boeing Looks to Partner with ISRO on Human Spaceflight Program

Boeing is looking to partner with ISRO on its human spaceflight program:

Aerospace behemoth Boeing plans to make the most of opportunities tossed up by removal of technology embargo with offers to partner Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in major projects.

The aerospace major has picked two key projects—the advanced medium combat aircraft (ACMA) being designed by DRDO and human space programme of ISRO—as ones with potential for partnership in future.


Commerce Secretary Locke Leads High-Tech Trade Mission to India

Gary Locke

Following the removal of sanctions against ISRO and other Indian Organizations, Commerce Department Secretary Gary Locke is leading a six-day trade mission to the subcontinent that begins on Feb. 6. Executives from Boeing and Lockheed Martin are among representatives from 24-high tech companies who will accompany the secretary. Boeing has expressed interest in supplying technologies for India’s planned human spaceflight program.

Jan. 14, 2011

Twenty-four U.S. businesses will join Commerce Secretary Gary Locke for a business development mission to India on February 6-11.  The businesses joining the trade mission are based in 13 states across the country and more than half of them are small- and medium-sized companies.

The delegation, which also includes senior officials from the Export-Import Bank (EX-IM) and the Trade Development Agency (TDA), will make stops in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, where Locke will highlight export opportunities for U.S. businesses in the advanced industrial sectors, of civil-nuclear trade, defense and security, civil aviation, and information and communication technologies. Locke accompanied President Obama to India in November, where they witnessed more than $10 billion in business deals between U.S. companies and Indian private sector and government entities, supporting 50,000 American jobs.


BrahMos to Produce ISRO Cryo Stage, Eyes Mach 7 Missile Within 6 Years

BrahMos Aerospace to make cryogenic engines for Indian rockets

Missile makers BrahMos Aerospace will manufacture the cryogenic engine once the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) perfects the technology, said a senior official Sunday.

The company is also hoping to induct its supersonic cruise missile into the Indian Air Force and develop hypersonic missile in six years’ time, chief executive and managing director A.Sivathanu Pillai told reporters here.


U.S. Lifts Export Restrictions on ISRO, DRDO

US removes ISRO, DRDO from export control list
Deccan Herald

Fulfilling a promise made by President Barack Obama in November, the US has removed nine Indian space and defence-related companies from the so-called Entity List to drive hi-tech trade and forge closer strategic ties with India.