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ISRO to focus on education, health: Dr K Radhakrishnan

2 November, 2010

The major future thrust areas for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will be in food and water security, weather and climate, environment and ecosystem, sustainable development, support for informed decision making, education and health care, skill development  and rural communications, as well as disaster management, said eminent scientist and ISRO Chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan.

Dr Radhakrishnan was delivering the 11th Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) Silver Jubilee Lecture titled 'ISRO Saga Forward' at the University's Convention Centre on October 25.

While elucidating upon ISRO's vision for the next 20 years, Dr Radhakrishnan said that the organisation will focus on space applications, space exploration, space assets and access to space.

“ISRO is working on GSAT 5P and RISAT-1, the satellite Aperture Radar, which enables the satellite to look at the earth even in the presence of cloud cover,” he said, adding that ISRO is making efforts to put the man on the moon.

Calling both ISRO and IGNOU examples of “learning organisations,” the eminent scientist discussed India’s space programme from 1963 till present as well as its vision for the future.

“In the 1960s, India was facing several problems, like illiteracy. Hence the focus was on how communication satellites could be used to solve these immediate problems. This vision was shared by the entire organisation and other successors of Dr Vikram Sarabhai,” said Dr Radhakrishnan, adding that the Indian space programme is a society- driven one.

Stressing on the need for good minds, Dr Radhakrishnan spoke about ISRO’s Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology at Trivandrum. “The batch of B.Tech students will pass out in June 2011. Those getting good grades will be absorbed in the institute,”  he remarked.

In his address, Vice Chancellor Professor VN Rajasekharan Pillai said, “ISRO and IGNOU  have been interacting for the past 15 years using satellite capabilities for education and health sector. Dr Kasturirangan, former Chairman of ISRO, has accepted the ISRO Chair at the University. Further collaborations between the two can improve the quality of education and  its reach to the remotest parts of the country.”

Pro-VC Dr KR Srivathsan was the Discussant for the lecture.