ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-


Hard Choices
Skylark 284 Frere Road Bombay 400 038
Grams Econweekly Editor Krishna Raj Associate Editor Rajani X Desai Assistant Editor M S Prabhakar Editorial Staff Colin de Souza, K Vijayakumar Manager J K Thakkar Advertisement Maneger R Venkiteswaran THE progress of the Indian satellite programme is sufficient to illustrate that development of strategic technologies needs massive will and effort. As much as in nuclear technology, the line between military and peaceful applications of rocket and space technology shifts with interpretation. Rocket motor technology capable of handling satellite launches will also be a second base for development of ballistic missiles, and the techniques tor earth resources surveying are substantially similar to those used in military spy satellites. Indeed, the visible tin of space application usually hides thelarger iceberg of military reconnaissance missions: acquisition of space technologies therefore projects a country out of the regional balances fostered by detente. There can be little co-operation from either the US or the Soviet Union for this purpose, Vikram Sarabhai's original plans for the satellite television experiment were, probably based on the premise that one. year (1975-70) of transmission using NASA's ATS-6 satellite would be followed closely by similar transmission through an Indian geo-stationary satellite. Given the constraints, external and internal, which apply, this was totally unrealistic. The Department of Space has now had to spread its satellite plans over several projects and many more years. The 350 kg Aryabhata demonstrated that some of the problems in satellite fabrication and telemetry could be handled by the Indian Scientific Satellite project team. But its high weight and negligible practical capability are demonstrative of the design constraints which had to accept components from any available source. For example, non-space-qualified electronic components of US origin were used (fortunately with success) along with bulky Soviet tape recorders, etc. The successor to Aryabhata is to be a simple satellite lor earth observations (SEO) of very limited capability to survey agricultural, forest and water resources. Roth these satellite orbits are, of course, determined by Soviet choice and this further constrains their utility.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Back to Top