India, France to join hands for ISRO's manned mission Gaganyaan

India, France to join hands for ISRO's manned mission Gaganyaan
ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan and his French counterpart Jean-Yues Le Gall of National Centre for Space Studies at the BSX-2018.

Bengaluru: Scientists from India and France will work together for Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) ambitious manned mission, Gaganyaan.

To set the ball rolling, a joint working group will take shape to weigh the strengths of both sides and exchange of ideas.

Speaking at the sixth edition of Bengaluru Space Expo (BSX-2018) here on Thursday, National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) president Jean-Yues Le Gall said the robust cooperation between ISRO and CNES will come handy for the Gaganyaan mission.

“India is becoming a hub of space missions. We have many technologies to offer for India’s human space programme, including on the space medicine front,” he said.

He said CNES would share their expertise in the fields of health monitoring of astronauts and radiation protection among others. Both the countries have announced a joint vision for space cooperation earlier and CNES will now explore options to work with Indian side.

However, ISRO officials said both countries have already many areas of cooperation and the latest French offer was in line with it.

India, France to join hands for ISRO's manned mission Gaganyaan
The crew module that was used for the pad abort test as part of the Gaganyaan pre-mission trials.

“An MoU is a goodwill gesture and it cannot be taken as the final word. An MoU will set the formal talking process in motion. We would like to get the best experiences from the world so that our mission benefits the most,” an ISRO official told Onmanorama.

The official added that both countries have a long-standing relationship in the field of satellites, especially for weather forecast. “Among the many existing areas, France could step in and offer their expertise in new domains as well,” the official added.

As per the India-France joint vision for space cooperation of March 10, 2018, both nations will work on space science, technology and applications, including sounding rocket development, liquid engine development, hosting of payloads, joint satellite realization, training programmes, satellite communication experiment and satellite launches.

Both ISRO and CNES would also work on autonomous navigation of rovers in Moon, Mars and other planets in addition to embarking on complex high technology space science and planetary exploration missions in future.

Interestingly, Glavkosmos, a subsidiary of Roscosmos Russian Space Corporation, too has a presence at the expo with a wide range of applications and solutions on offer. The highlight of the Russian stall is the space food exhibit consisting of a variety of consumables for the astronauts, mostly in the paste form.

ISRO Chairman lures industries

With the BSX-2018 theme focusing on enabling new space players in India, ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan wanted industries to troop in and share the workload.

India, France to join hands for ISRO's manned mission Gaganyaan
An engineering model of flightsuit for the Gaganyaan mission.

“The academia and industry are the two strong pillars of ISRO. Nearly 80 per cent of the launch vehicles and 50 per cent of satellite work is now being done by the industry. We hope the scope of this activity increases further and the industry becomes a partner rather a vendor,” Dr Sivan said.

He said the demand for small satellites is growing exponentially and called upon the industry to capture the growing market.

“We have approvals for 30 PSLV missions and 10 GSLV Mk-III missions worth Rs 10,400 crore. Out of this, over Rs 9,000 crore work will go to the industries. The next three years, we have planned 59 satellite launches and to cater to this demand we need the industries to gear up. It will be just impossible for us to manufacture all the components,” he said.

He said ISRO will be hooked on to the Gaganyaan for the next 4 years to beat the deadline set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I want the industries to come together to meet the requirements of this challenging mission. Please make our lives easier. Please take our load,” Dr Sivan added.

Later speaking to Onmanorma, Dr Sivan, on a specific query about the French offer to help the Gaganyaan mission said: “It is part of the bigger umbrella events and there are several areas both sides will work together. We will form joint work groups and Gaganyaan could also be one of the focus areas.”

Rakesh Sasibhushan, CMD, Antrix, said the current space scenario offered tremendous opportunities to Indian industries.

“India’s space programmes will have to get the support of industries in a big way. There are many new space fronts opening up and the industries will be in a position to gauge the global demand,” Rakesh said.

Kris Gopala Krishnan, past president of CII and chairman of Axilor Ventures, highlighted the need for CII to bring all players together to make a vibrant space ecosystem in India.

India, France to join hands for ISRO's manned mission Gaganyaan
A poster that’s up on display explaining the features of the crew module.

“Indian Industry can emerge as a collaborative partner with ISRO for development of space technology,” he said.

ISRO’s decision to put up a dedicated Gaganyaan pavillion at the expo has drawn huge attention from the visitors. The centre of attraction is a crew module that was used during the last pad abort test. An engineering model of space suite, crew habitat and crew escape system is also in place.

BSX-2018 is organised by Confederation of Indian Industries in association with ISRO and Antrix Corporation Limited. The public could visit the expo on September 8.

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