'No talks with Russia about ISRO mission'

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Bangalore, Apr 4: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G Madhavan Nair today denied that India had held talks with Russia to either send an Indian astronaut to space or train one for its ambitious manned mission.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function, he said there was indeed a Russian ''suggestion'' to this effect, but no concrete proposal. ''This happens when we sit across the table and finalise. At present there is no such proposal,'' he added. The ISRO chief said the agency had now finalised the report on maned mission and it would be submitted once the Space Commission meeting is held next week.

''We have said in the report that we are targeting to complete the mission in seven years and meet the 2015 target. We have assessed the technologies involved, the facilities required and which are the agencies that would participate,'' he said.

Mr Nair said ISRO was exploring cooperation with other space agencies which had the capability and such tie-ups would happen over the years. ''Now we know what we want. We look around and assess what they (foreign space agencies) have and whether they are willing to share it. But it takes time,'' he said.

Mr Nair said that during his recent Russian visit, he had reviewed the Glosnass mission in which India was participating. ''We discussed setting up on a compatible receiver that could work with both Indian satellite and the Glosnass constellation. We want the receiver we are developing to be compatible with both. However, we can consider using both Indian and equipment from outside, if needed,'' he said.

India had entered into a tie-up with Russia to participate in the 30-satellite Glosnass mission and link its regional satellite network to it.

The ISRO chief expressed satisfaction over the 25 per cent increase in the budget allocation for the organisation. The Union Government had allocated Rs 4,000 crore to ISRO in this year's budget, compared to Rs 3,000 crore last year.

Mr Nair said that during the 11th five-year plan, ISRO had targeted to achieve 70 missions, compared to 28 missions during the previous plan. ''We want to ensure operational continuity and then take up future development programmes. Future development will be towards moon mission, reusable satellites and K-band satellites for transmission of hi-definition data.'' He said ''our immediate next launch would be CARTOSAT-2.'' This launch would follow the aborted Moon Mission-I, which would come through in two to three months for which the integration work had begun.

CARTOSAT would include a TWSAT, mainly meant for developing countries to receive data at a low cost, he said.

Mr Nair said ISRO would think of dedicating a satellite for health like the one now being used for telemedicine. ''We have four transponders now meant for education and the satellite based health services will have to pick up. Then we can think of a dedicated satellite,'' he said.

On criticism by the Left parties for ISRO launching a Israeli 'spy' satellite, he merely said ''everybody has freedom to express what he or she wants. Similar to this launch, we have received three more inquiries from private industries in Europe.''

UNI

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