Manchester – This is the Place

One of the more memorable events from Manchester over the last week. A poem by Tony Walsh.  I don’t listen to much poetry but this is a Riveting five minutes.

Book Review : Space India 2.0

Title: Space India 2.0

Publisher:  Observer Research Foundation

Author: Edited by Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan and Narayan Prasad

Free download from

If you are looking for a single source of current state of play with the Indian space programme from a diverse collection of writers from in and outside India – this is it.

This book is a collection of 26 chapters written by authors with expertise and first-hand experience covering a broad range of topics. The book is divided into to five themes on Space Commerce, Policy, Security, International collaboration and concludes with Sustainability & Governance. The authors include former ISRO director, academics, scientists, researchers, legal experts and some from the growing community of space start-ups.

Authors come from USA, Australia, Japan, France and Russia give a unique international perspective on the policy and evolution of the space activities in India. Each chapter is written as a standalone piece and whilst there is some repetition the varied writing styles is quite refreshing. Between them the contributors discuss the increasing commercialisation of ISRO’s operations, the growth of space start-ups, India’s new ground-based assets to aid space debris monitoring, opportunities for India-Australia collaboration, the remarkable growth of internet users in India and increasing reliance on digital services for the benefits of all of India’s 1.2 billion population.

The space security section deals with some of the most fraught and testing topics that rely on space assets. In his chapter, Ajey Lile describes India’s conventional military assets with a surprising degree of quantitative data. For example, the Indian army has 1,300,000 active personnel, 6,464 tanks and 290 self-propelled guns. This level of detail a decade ago would probably have been seen as a security breach. As a retired wing commander, Lile is likely to have the authoritative sources for this data and clearance to put this information in the public domain.  Lile highlights a mismatch between India’s space strategy, its current space assets and the political indecision on how space should be used for national defence. Similarly, in her paper, Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan addresses the changing geopolitical landscape around the potential military use of space.  She points to the absence of political and financial commitment from the Indian government which does not bode well for India’s national security in the long-term.

Kumar Abhijeet emphasises India’s need for domestic space legislation to support not only the emerging private space sector but India’s obligation to international treaties such as the Outer Space treaty. In the 1960s there were just two countries with space programs, now there are around 60. International collaboration will be key to ensuring that space around the Earth used by communication, navigation and meteorological satellites is kept free of hostile activities that have marred human history on Earth. In its own way, this compilation from international authors is an example of the collaboration essential for humanity’s eventual use and exploration of space.

This book is an interesting up to date resource with an international perspective. If you want to know all about the Indian space program, this book along with the following four will offer a pretty good wholesome picture

The best part was a bunch of new writers that I had not come across before. I expect to read more of their work in the future.  I will conclude with my usual whing regarding the absence of a back-of-the-book index and a few typos that should have been picked up during proofreading.

Public Event. Anglo Indian Stephen Smith – India’s forgotten Rocketeer

What: A public talk on Anglo Indian Stephen Smith. His life and achievements. Where: The Larkhill Centre, Thorley Lane, Timperley, WA15 7AZ (about 3 miles from Manchester International Airport) When: 19:30 – 20:15 Tuesday 21st March 2017 The event is organised by the India Study Circle for Philately. During the 1920s Stephen Smith founded the Calcutta […]

[Continue reading…]

ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 – detected in lunar orbit

Using an innovative radar technique, NASA has been able to detect two space in lunar orbit from the surface if the Earth. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was launched in 2009 and was in lunar orbit at the same time as Chandrayaan-1. Although a joint experiment was designed  for both spacecraft, it did not work out. […]

[Continue reading…]

Book Review: ISRO’s Earth Observation Cameras

India’s Journey Towards Excellence In Building Earth Observation Cameras

Title: India’s Journey Towards Excellence In Building Earth Observation Cameras Publisher: Author: Dr George Joseph ISBN:  978-93-5206-998-9 As a late joiner to the space club, India’s space program was in “catch-up” mode for most of its early history.  Never the less, original technological innovation did take place. In this book, Dr George Joseph describes […]

[Continue reading…]

Book Review – From Fishing Hamlet to Red Planet: India’s Space Journey

Title: From Fishing Hamlet to Red Planet: India’s Space Journey Publisher: Harper Collins India Author: ISRO Chief Editor: P.V. Manoranjan Rao This book is probably the most detailed and most comprehensive account of how the Indian Space Program was founded and has developed since 1963.   There is no single narrative that flows from the […]

[Continue reading…]

Akatsuki – New arrival at Venus

With two active rovers on the surface of Mars and six satellites in orbit, the Human exploration of Mars continues as never before. Two more missions will be leaving Earth for Mars in early 2016. However, the space news of this week that has not received the due global attention is the arrival of the […]

[Continue reading…]

Public Talk – The Indian Space Program

I will be in Keighley, Yorkshire speaking about the Indian Space program operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation – ISRO. I will speak about the its Mars Orbiter mission  has been in Martian orbit  since September 2014. All onboard instruments are returning data and the spacecraft is in good health. Keighley is about 20 […]

[Continue reading…]

Mars – The new space race?

A fascinating day here at in Liverpool. Some of you asked for copies of the slides – now on here on slideshare. More about The British Interplanetary Society, Manchester and Liverpool’s role in the space race – here.

[Continue reading…]

Episode 72: Satish Dhawan Space Centre

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

[Continue reading…]