Saturday, December 4, 2010

India and France to jointly explore space

     ``Why should we work together? Because we refuse to allow the space adventure to ever become the monopoly of just one or two states and we want on the contrary that all states that have the means, remain in the race,''

      Guess who uttered these words? None other than French President, Nicolay Sarkozy, while addressing Isro scientists and others at the space agency's satellite centre in Bangalore on Saturday. It is apparent that his statement is directed against one country--namely the US. He has made it clear that US should not have a global monopoly in space, It is in this context he feels that more countries should team up to colloborate to challenge the monopoly of the US.

      If India, Japan, Russia and China formed a space consortium, it would prove a big challenge to the US.

      Turning to other relatated topics, 2011 which is just three weeks away, promises to be a promising year for Indo-French space colloboration. Two satellites--Megha Tropiques and Saral--a product of  this tie up are slated for launch next year.

     The French President saw the Megha Tropiques satellite a joint venture  between the French Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales and Isro, when he visited the Isro Satellite Cente on Saturday. The main role of the satellite, slated for launch by the indigenous Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)  in 2011 is to study the water cycle in the tropical atmosphere in the context of climate change.

     With a three-year life span, having a weight of 500 kg, its main payload are Madras, a microwave imager, Saphir, a sounding instrument and ScaRab, a scanning radiative budget instrument.

     Another satellite, a product of Indo-French colloboration, ``Saral,'' which will provide observations about ice, rain, coastal zones  and wave heights is also scheduled for lift off next year by the PSLV.

   In another develoment followiing Sarkozy's visit  Isro signed two more commercial agreements with Ariannespace, the French commercial launch services company, ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan said in his address during French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to the space agency on Saturday

   Ariannespace has launched 12 Indian communications satellites on a commercial basis so far.
  ISRO has also renewed its five-year contract (of 2005) with EADS Astrium, a European satellite system specialist that provides civil and defence space systems and services.  ISRO has envisaged that this alliance between its commercial arm, the Antrix Corporation Limited, and the EADS Astrium “will jointly address the commercial market for communications satellites with payload power below 4 kw and a launch mass in the range of two to three tonnes.”

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