Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Toast to the moon----Indian mission

         At a time when Isro faced a serious crisis because of the controversial Devas deal, it has something to cheer about thanks to the budget.

         What is the reason?  The budget for the Indian moon mission saw a hefty hike from Rs 25 crores to Rs 80 crores. The massive increase assumes significance in the context of Isro gearing up for the launch of the Rs 425-crore second moon mission. ``Chandrayaan-2,'' a joint Indo-Russian venture. While the rocket, presumably the three-stage Geo Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), the spacecraft and the rover will be indigenous, only the lander will be the Russian contribution.

          Hopefully. if the problems relating to the Gslv, are resolved,``Chandrayaan-2'' should be launched in 2013. This is the time when even the Google Lunar X Prize is expected to lift off. Who will go first is the big question?

          Coincidentally,. the increase in the allocation for the moon mission was announced when director of the Ahmedabad-based Space Application Centre, R.R.Navalgund, presented pictures taken by Chandrayaan-1 to Tifr during the National Science Day celebrations on February 28,2011. Why could not the organisers hold up these pictures and show it to the students who comprised the main audience during the science day programme

          Here is another reason for Isro to uncork the champagne bottle. The funds alloted for the human space flight programme has gone up from a mere Rs 10 crores to a whopping Rs 100 crores. According to Dr Navalgund all the background work has been done and the programme has been given the go ahead in principle. He said that the mode of implementation is being worked out.

         A note in the budget paper states that ``the proposal has been cleared by the finance ministry, the planning commission and the space commission and is currently under the process for Cabinet approval.'' Isro officials have been waiting for the green light for the last three or four years, but it is not getting activitated. One wonders whether the governments considers this an important project.

         The allocation for launch vehicle technology is Rs 1755 crores.

         The Adiya mission to the sun has been alloted Rs 40 crores.

         Great days ahead for Isro.



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