EDITORIAL

Satellite launch success

Posted on July 13, 2010 | View 1007 | Comment : 4

But where's the new sports bra?

Indis's satellite launch capability has come to be taken for granted by the public at large to an extent where one more successful launch fails to excite. Excitement is not the point, however.

It’s time for Indians to move on from celebration of belonging to a tiny, elite club of nations that can fabricate and launch their own, and others’, satellites to optimal utilisation of not just the data captured by the satellites but also the technological advances made by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro).

A successful satellite launch brings together diverse capabilities in material sciences, communications, signalling, microelectronics, fuels, aerodynamics, computing, data management and project management. All these capabilities are eminently qualified for being put to use by industry in non-space areas of activity.

The Antrix Corp, Isro’s commercial wing, offers some of these capabilities to industry. But the bulk of the corporation’s Rs 900-crore revenue comes from core activities such as launch of satellites and lease of transponders.

Commercialisation of Isro’s technology is yet to achieve a respectable fraction of the potential. This must change. And for that, there has to be greater effort both by the space agency and by Indian industry.
    
From CAT scans and ultrasounds to quartz timekeepers and sports bras, from flat panel television to trash compactors, a whole range of things that we do not commonly associate with space missions owe their origins, in fact, to space research. Commercialisation of technology is not a function that technologists are necessarily good at.

It calls for not just marketing skills on the part of the agency that creates the technology but also an ecosystem that brings together risk-taking entrepreneurship and a financial system that can mediate a slice of the collective pool of savings to commercial experimentation with new technology.

Fast-growing India needs to create such an ecosystem, to fully tap the fruits of the research that send launch vehicles and their payloads soaring into the sky and beyond. And the responsibility for that cannot be dumped on our space scientists.

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Comments (4)

  • We at the Pattern Recognition Research Institute at Bangalore have been fine-honing this idea for over 7 years!

    It is clear that India is fantastic in technical capability, but quite poor in transfering that to the commercial domain. For long, the largest projects were only in the public sector and whenver they leadership has been good, they success has been overwhelming: ISRO, NTPC, Konkan Rail, Delhi Metro, NPC etc. Private sector never has the scale of these public sector giants.
    ...See More

    Posted by Dr Sudarsh Kailas,Director at The Pattern Recognition Research Institute|22 Jul, 2010

  • We must think of the commercial use of the latest technical developments so that general public may also get its benefits.It is not a bad idea to start a commercial department in I.S.R.O. for the guidance & practical use of the research.This will not only fecilitate the industrial sector but also help the I.S.R.O. financially ,& it can devote more time & money for the research.

    Posted by Surender Kumar Singal , Indian Citizen at Indian | 14 Jul, 2010

  • Govt. set up NRDC to commercialize technologydeveloped by CSIR labs in India. Wonder how much is happenng now and how much has been commercialised so far.
    Newer technologies developed by organisations lik ISRO could be commercialised thru NRDC.
    It maybe a good idea to dissolve NRDC and create a new orgnaistion that will commercialise any technology developd by any govt. organsiation in India. Some private cos do on their own, however anybody an everybody shold be free to take the help of this organsiation. DD Maheshwari

    Posted by D D MAheshwari | 14 Jul, 2010

  • This editorial has thrown up a powerful idea. For the fast growth of India to achieve prosperity at total level of the population, we need an ecosystem which will facilitate technology transfer from research centres of all disciplines to industrial applications and ventures at national level. We should have a national policy that would alert all Ministries and Departments at Central and State level to monitor worthwhile technologies available from research and development centres under them or relevant technologies and ideas from schools and colleges at national level. This seeding activities should be considered as necessary part of poverty removal and prosperity building across all States of India. We have industrial development boards in all States since the past few decades and ...See More

    Posted by George Varuggheese,President at Godimages Good Governance Society|13 Jul, 2010

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