India must take steps to undertake human space flight mission: Madhavan Nair

Hyderabad : Eminent space scientist G Madhavan Nair has said India must take steps to undertake human space flight mission without delay, stating such a venture would give a new “life and vigour” to entire research activities in ISRO.

Former Indian Space Research Organisation chairman, Nair termed as “very unfortunate” the government’s stand on the mission. He said the goverenmnet is yet to give a formal approval to the mission, even a decade after a meeting convened by ISRO which was attended by 80 senior scientists who favoured initiation of such a project.

The gathering of scientists on November 7, 2006, was unanimous in suggesting that the time is appropriate for India to undertake such a mission. The preliminary estimated cost for the venture was Rs 10,000 crore spread over a period of eight years.

In the recent Parliament session, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Jitendra Singh had said that as of now, the mission is not an approved programme and that currently, ISRO is developing critical technologies relevant for such a spaceflight for building future capacity.

“It (human spaceflight mission) is the next stepping stone which will pitch our position much higher in the global space community”, said Nair.

“We missed the opportunity. But I will say that even now it’s not late. And the money we are taking is peanuts; something like Rs 10,000 crore to Rs 15,000 crore spread over five-six years, is completely affordable for India.

“That will give a new life and vigour to the entire research activities in ISRO. It’s not just that we roll out PSLVs and satellites. Yes, that has to be there. That even industries can do. Our R&D needs to be strengthened,” he said.

Nair claimed that in the last two years, there is no new initiative from ISRO. “In any R&D sector, unless you set the goals high and work towards something which is challenging, you lose the whole culture of the organisation.”