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Israel and Russia have agreed to increase cooperation on space research and exploration. According to Zvi Kaplan, Director, Israel Space Agency, a project has been proposed which includes remote sensing of Earth from space, planetary studies and space medicine. Kaplan said that the two nations may also join forces on astrophysical research and satellite navigation. On the other hand, Russian Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the integration of Israel’s advanced technology with Russia’s developed space infrastructure is “one that could provide major benefits to both countries.”
South African EO satellite survives in space
Despite being called a “crippled ship,” South Africa’s first low-orbit earth observation (EO) satellite SumbandilaSat, is doing what it was designed to do. Orbiting at about 500km from the Earth’s surface, the satellite is transmitting earth observation imagery. It is providing information water, land use as well as air quality to decision makers. “At heart, the satellite is a pathfinder, a technology demonstrator,” said Val Munsami, Deputy Director-General, Department of Science and Technology.
Built by SunSpace, a microsatellite company, SumbandilaSat was launched in September 2009 from the Baikonur Cosmodome in Kazakhstan. Department of Science and Technology, South Africa, paid ZAR 26m (ZAR: SA Currency) for the construction of satellite and it is being considered as a cheap satellite. “They made cost compromises because it wasn’t built for longevity. It was built as a prototype to show that SA has the capacity. It doesn’t have the back-up systems a fully functioning satellite would have,” said Marian Shinn, Minister for Science and Technology.
China to launch RS satellite for marine regions
China’s marine economy is expected to grow at an annual rate of more than 13 percent in the next five years, according to Liu Cigui, Director of State Oceanic Administration in China. With an aim to boost the marine economy, Liu said, China may launch HY-2 satellite, a marine remote sensing satellite series, later on this year.
New director for Indonesian Space Agency
Bambang Setiawan Tejasukmana is appointed as Director of National Aeronautics and Space Agency (LAPAN), Indonesia. He replaced Adi Sadewo Salatun who retired in January. The new director said he would develop more synergised cooperation with other related institutions. Bambang said LAPAN’s programmes would require a lot of cooperation. The programmes include launching of rockets and satellites and the use of radar and remote sensing technologies. There is also a draft law on national aeronautics to be proposed.
The Jakarta Post
Indian PM urges to use RS for development
Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, India, urged scientists to expedite space-based applications in order to balance the share of economic growth in the society. “As the economy expands, there will be growing pressure on resources be it land, water or minerals. Remote sensing (RS) applications for such purposes will be critical,” Dr. Singh said during his visit to Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmadabad.
“Space-based applications have strong means of bridging the divide and for this purpose there is a need to develop heavy lift launchers, advanced propulsion systems including the cryogenic state and recoverable and reusable launch systems,” Dr Singh added. Stating that there have been aberrations and setbacks in the space programmes in the recent past. The PM shared his worries and said that it is therefore important that the scientists should work with renewed dedication, sincerity and zeal to fulfil the high expectations that the country space programmes.
Indian space budget gets 35 percent hike
The allocation for India’s space programme has been increased by more than 30 percent in the General Budget 2011-12, compared to last year’s allocation. The human space flight and Chandrayaan-II have gained the lion’s share. New missions for earth observation, which include launch of satellites like RISAT-3 and Cartosat-3, were allocated INR 200 crore. Human Space Flight programme of ISRO was allocated INR 98.81 crore as against the token amount of INR 14.71 crore last year, while the sequel to India’s maiden moon mission got INR 80 crore as against INR 25 crore the previous year.
Among key amounts allocated to the Department of Space was INR 410 crore for GSAT-11, the advanced communication satellite it plans to launch in the future. ISRO’s ambitious plans to develop a next generation rocket for launching heavier satellites – GSLV Mark III – was allocated INR 292.46 crore, while the Space Capsule Recovery Experiment was given INR 65.64 crore.
Assess need for data before planning satellite launches: CAG
Expressing displeasure over under-utilisation of remote-sensing satellites, government auditor asked the Department of Space to assess the requirement of data in various thematic areas before planning and launching satellites. “NRSC/DOS may assess the need requirement of data in various thematic areas before planning and launching satellites and initiate action to maximize utilization of remote sensing satellites already launched,” the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said in its report.
The CAG presented a report on the performance audit of the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), the nodal agency of the Department of Space (DoS) for operational remote sensing activities in the country, to the Lok Sabha. The NRSC mainly acquires remote sensing data from six operational Indian Remote Sensing satellites and a few other foreign satellites. “Performance of three out of the seven remote sensing satellites was below their maximum capacity in terms of the number of remote sensing satellite data captured by them,” the CAG report said. The auditor said the satellites were planned without adequate thematic data need assessment. “The revenue realised from seven satellites in operation was not up to the desired level,” it said.