Resource constraints seen holding up ISRO’s human space flight plan

Press Trust of India Hyderabad | Updated on January 23, 2018

Agency working on technologies for it, says Kiran Kumar

It was a proposal that created much enthusiasm in the previous decade, but resource constraints have held back ISRO’s human space flight venture for far too long as it does not figure in the top-priority list.

AS Kiran Kumar, who retired as ISRO Chairman earlier this month, says the space agency’s priority continues to be strengthening its observation, communication and navigation capabilities.

Scientists’ enthusiasm

“At this point in time, you can say it (human space flight) is not very high on priority,” he told PTI. More than a decade ago, at a meeting convened by ISRO, scientists were highly appreciative of the study undertaken by it on such a mission, and were unanimous in suggesting that it was time for the country to undertake the venture.

Such a mission, many space scientists said, would take India’s space programme to a new trajectory.

Kiran Kumar agrees, but said adequate resources are a key constraint. “You need resources, isn’t it?”

Costly mission

When asked about reports that the cost of the project was estimated to be around ₹8,000 crore to ₹10,000 crore a decade ago, he said, “It’s much more than that.”

On whether the cost could have gone up to ₹20,000 crore now, Kiran Kumar said even a decade ago, it was in that range, but hastened to add that he does not want to speculate and the actual cost is to be worked out.

Tech preparation

“At this point in time, we have to significantly enhance our capacity in our basic capabilities of observation, communication and navigation,” he said. Kiran Kumar said ISRO is working on some of the critical technologies for the human space flight, such as crew module and environment-controlled chamber.

“As you can visualise, the cost involved (for human space flight mission) will be more for the simple reason that there is a life involved in that. So, you cannot afford to take a risk that you would have taken if there was no life object in the activity,” he said.

“We have a finite resource, we need to use our resources in a manner that benefits us the most. So, while technological endeavours for it (human space flight) are continuing, getting into the act itself is dependent on how much resource we can make available for it. This is the real issue,” he added.

Published on January 23, 2018

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

You May Also Like