Episode 72: Satish Dhawan Space Centre


From left to right. V. Seshagiri Rao Associate director, Dr M.Y.S. Prasad SDSC director, Dr S.V. Subba Rao Deputy Director

Located about 80km from Chennai on India’s east coast, Satish Dhawan Space centre is used by ISRO to launch all of its satellites including those to the Moon and Mars. Also known as Sriharikota, it was established during the late 1960s but today it has a vehicle assembly building, two launch pads and a state of the art mission control centre.

In this episode, Dr MYS Prasad, the director at Satish Dhawan Space Centre describes the key services and activities that take place at India’s 21st century rocket launch complex. This interview was recorded in January 2014 and Dr Prasad stood down as director on 31st May 2015.



Episode 71 – TATA Institute for Fundamental Research


Homi Bhabha 1909 - 1966

Homi Bhabha 1909 – 1966

The Indian Space Program was initiated by a brilliant nuclear physicist Homi Bhabha who pretty much immediately handed over the space program to Vikram Sarabhai. Bhabha himself pursued the goal of establishing premier scientific institutions for fundamental research in India. At the time he regarded scientific institutions to be critical for the new emerging independent India. Whilst working in the Indian Institute of Science, in 1945 he came up with the idea of an institution for fundamental research and went on to establish the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research (TIFR) which continues to operate today.

Opening ceremony  in 1954

Opening ceremony in 1954

Although separate organisations, the connection between ISRO and TIFR remains strong to this day. Many of the instruments and subsystem onboard ISRO’s satellites are designed and constructed within TIFR. In this episode, the former director of TIFR, Professor Mustansir Barma talks about Homi Bhabha, his achievements in physics and the role of the TIFR in modern India.

Images and video from the partial Solar Eclipse 20 March 2015


Some images and short videos of the eclipse recorded from northwest England during a mostly cloudy morning of 20th March 2015. I used a video camera piggy-backed on my driven Vixen 102mm telescope along with a Cannon 550D at the prime focus for a few stills.  A mylar filter was used most of the time […]

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Episode 70 – India’s Deep Space Network and ISRO Satellite Centre

Indian Deep Space Network

India’s space program is now over half a century old. During this time its Infrastructure has evolved. This episode looks at the current communication capabilities used to support space vehicles during launch, in Earth orbit or on a interplanetary missions. ISRO has an extensive network of ground stations on the Indian mainland, off-shore and neighbouring countries […]

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ISRO’s updated website – an overview

Space technology in service of Human kind_21Dec2014

On 21st December 2014 ISRO updated its website (www.isro.org duplicated at www.isro.gov.in).  Even over the first few days after the update there have been additional minor updates so some of the screen dumps below may not precisely match what you may see. Although there are still some shortcomings, the new clean, fresh user interface offers simpler navigation […]

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Book Review – India’s Rise as a Space Power

Indias Rise as a Space Power

Title: India’s Rise as a Space Power Publisher: Cambridge University Press, India Pvt Ltd Author: U.R Rao ISBN-10: 9382993487 ISBN-13: 978-9382993483 In the April of 1971, the USSR approached India and offered to launch an Indian satellite. Vikram Sarabhai asked UR Rao to develop and lead the program. In December 1971 Sarabhai died. Perhaps it […]

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Episode 69 Mars Orbiter Mission


Interview recorded at ISRO’s satellite Centre in Bangalore with Mars Orbiter Mission program director Dr Mylswamy Annadurai. This interview was recorded on 26th March 2014 after MOM was launched but before it arrived at Mars.

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Philae Landing on 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko

ESA’s Rosseta mission highlight is now imminent. Philae will be start its landing phase on 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 11th November and actually land on the 12th November 2014. This PDF detailed timeline lists events leading up separation, landing and just after separation. All the times are in GMT. In the end Philae performed 3 landings,15:33, 17:26 & 17:33. […]

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Why India went to Mars

Here is my piece on Marsdaily about the geopolitics of India’s Mars mission. Despite what the piece states at the top – I am NOT in Bangalore!      

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Information Security. Cloud Computing – A Commercial and Legal Perspective 

Cloud computing has been an information technology (IT) buzzword for many years and now it’s firmly ensconced in the mainstream of ICT and business. This session will look at the commercial and legal perspectives.

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