Interacting with media on the sidelines of 32 ndconvocation of Mangalore University, Radhakrishnan said in 2006-07, a study was taken up on possibilities and capabilities of putting human beings into space, that is around 275-400kms from Earth, keep them for a week, and bring them back safely to Earth.
MANGALORE: While there is no approved programme to put human payload in to space, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is however working on several areas of new technology that can make this possible, said K Radhakrishnan, chairman, Isro. One such technology - that is the crew module - will be tested with the experimental flight of GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle that will be launched in late May or early part of June, Radhakrishnan noted.
Interacting with media on the sidelines of 32 ndconvocation of Mangalore University, where he was the chief guest, Radhakrishnan said in 2006-07, a study was taken up on possibilities and capabilities of putting human beings into space, that is around 275-400kms from Earth, keep them for a week, and bring them back safely to Earth. GSLV Mk-III launch will enable Isro to test how the rocket minus the cryogenic stage and the module will work.
Noting that Isro has carried out model testing of the crew module in the lab, he said there is need to do it in actual condition. "We are working on the environment control and life support systems," he said adding work is also going to develop the space suit. To safeguard lives of crew, steps are also being taken to detect failures on board a proposed flight so that the crew can be ejected to safety in time and a crew escape system is being worked on.
On the vital question of which vehicle system is ideally suited for such an endeavour, he said a PSLC can carry one human, a GSLV two humans, and GSLV Mk-III three humans and space for experiment. Observing that the last named vehicle offers future expansion potential, he said short of describing it human rated vehicle, Isro is working on technologies related to it. The sized down versions of the crew module are being tested in the laboratory.
Noting that the GSLV Mk-III is being integrated at Sriharikota, and the crew module at Thiruvananthapuram, he said the GSLV Mk-III provides three times higher thrust than GSLV flown earlier in January. "Isro has carried out three tests of this new engine," he said, adding that the first development flight of GSLV Mk-III will be carried out latest in 2016. This will enable us carry a payload of around four-tonnes, Radhakrishnan added.
On collaborative programme with NASA, he said work is on to develop synthetic aperture radar. "Both are working on details of the project," he said, adding the development work will start once the government approvals are received.
While ISRO will work on S Band synthetic aperture radar, NASA will work on L Band synthetic aperture radar. ISRO will develop the satellite and also facilitate the launch that will take place in 2020, he said.
Isro on YouTube
Acknowledging the massive boost that social media - Facebook and Twitter did to bring Gen Y to discuss and exchange ideas about space programme, Radhakrishnan said Isro is also planning to tap the potential that You Tube offers for it is live and dyamic. The entry into FB with the Mars Orbiter mission brought 3 lakh likes, and the GSLV launch 50,000+ likes, he said, adding encouraging thing is Gen Y is discussing and talking science.
With a maximum of youth in the age-group of 18-34 years on social media, it is imperative to utilise medium this generation uses to communicate, Radhakrishnan said. Observing that Mars Orbiter is a one-year Mission, Radhakrishnan said Isro's foray into social media is to tap into interest that Mars Orbiter mission has created beyond the mission period. Isro incidentally webcasts live its various launch programmes, Radhakrishnan added.