On November 17, an important space event was held in Washington which marked 50 years of the prestigious International Academy of Astronautics, which is headed by former Isro chief Madhavan Nair.
The academy was founded in 1960 by famous space pioneers like Von Braun, Von Karman, Oberth, Sanger, Yuri Gagarin and Neil Armstrong.
Called the ``Heads of Space Agencies Summit,'' India is represented, not by Isro chairman, K.Radhakrishnan, but director of the Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre, R.R.Navalgund and associate director, Kiran Kumar. Their centre is playing a key role in the design and development of a number of key components relating to the Chandrayaan-2 mission slated for lift off in 2013. The programme of the conference states that APJ Abdul Kalam was one of the key participants in the opening session.
The focus of the meeting was on four specific areas. These were human space flight, planetary robotic exploration, climate change and disaster management. According to the sked, Jitendra Goswami, director of the Ahmedabad-based Physical Research Laboratory, is participating in a session related to the lunar exploration working group. In the human spaceflight programme, Ramakrishnan Sundaram, and Unnikrishnan Nair Sreedharan, have been mentioned.
The primary aim of the meet is to reach a broad consensus on international co-operation and co-ordination. The academy wants to avoid any duplication of on-going efforts, but to foster closer and broader international co-ordination across the four topics.
Where does India stand in this?
``Beyond Moon and Mars,'' will report about the delibrations of the conference as and when they are available.