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 Philatelic Club and the Aero Philatelic Club of India (which changed its name to the Indian Airmail Society in 1930). The rocket mail covers flown in his rockets were in demand by collectors then and remain so today.  A bit more about him on this piece I wrote here and checkout the update in my comment to the same post.

In the talk I will speak about  his personal life story and provided an update on having recently made contact with his  family (grand-daughter and great grand-daughter) living in London. The event is open to the public and is free – includes tea and biscuits.


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. LRO is still operating in Lunar Orbit today. Communication with India’s Chandrayaan-1 was lost in August 2009.  At the time ISRO engineers estimated that Chandrayaan-1’s orbit would decay and it would impact on the surface of the Moon by around 2012.  The new microwave radar technique using three of the world’s largest radio telescopes (Goldstone, Arecibo and Green Bank) first located the Chandrayaan-1 in July 2016. Remarkably it was still pretty much in its 200km polar orbit going round the Moon every 2 hours.

Chandrayaan-1 was originally (November 2008) in a 100km orbit which was raised to 200 km (May 2009)  to overcome internal heating problems. Although not welcomed at the time because the resolution of the data captured by several of the onboard instruments was reduced given the higher altitude. This raised orbit is probably the reason it survives in lunar orbit today.

One of the better write-ups, from 2009 about the demise of the Chandrayaan-1 mission from an accomplished Indian journalist T.S. Subramanian here.

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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.

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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

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Episode 71 – TATA Institute for Fundamental Research

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 bringing institutionalised fundamental research to India. At the time he saw that as essential for the new emerging independent India.

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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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