India: The international seminar on Indian Space Program was inaugurated at The Hotel Ashok, New Delhi, on November 20 at 9:30 hrs. The two-day seminar has been jointly organized by ISRO and FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry). It has eminent space technologists, dignitaries, diplomats and scientists from around the globe as participants and guests.
The main focus of the seminar will be on emerging trends and opportunities in the Indian space industry and the challenges and obstacles that might hobble its progress.
The welcome address was delivered by Dr Sanjaya Baru, General Secretary of FICCI, who thanked ISRO for this unique collaboration and expressed hope that new developments will be ushered and ISRO will remain the bellwether of space research and exploration in South Asia.
AS Kiran Kumar, chairman of ISRO and Indian Space Commission, was the chief guest at the seminar. He gave his invaluable insights on Indian space and reminisced about the instrumental role of Dr Vikram Sarabhai, the visionary founding father of Indian space program, in seeking close collaboration with both the Soviets and the Americans — the two space exploration heavyweights — in an era when India was a newly independent fledging republic that was struggling with numerous developmental challenges and was constantly strapped of resources and technological prowess. But Dr Sarabhai never let paucity of resources and technical expertise come in the way of his ambitious vision of India becoming a shining beacon in space exploration and research.
As Kiran Kumar very pertinently stated: “We have shown that in spite of the difficulties and limited resources, we can reach great heights”
ISRO had humble and banal beginnings but over the years it has distinguished itself in the realm of space, won global applause and has many feathers in its cap, including but not limited to, producing the highest commercial usage spatial resolution satellite imagery in the world in 1995. Currently, ISRO has active partnerships with over 42 research agencies and has dozens of satellites ranging from earth observation to navigation.
Kiran Kumar also spoke on the dawning of a new era in space technology where private players and corporations are actively participating with the governments and entering the domain on their own as licensing procedures have been eased and liberalized.
He emphasized that “space exploration is no longer the prerogative of the governments” while we witness great technological disruptions and re-orientation and realignment of the old order.