French President visits ISRO

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as http://parallelspirals.blogspot.com. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on December 06, 2010 as per the time stamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

Not many heads of state come and visit the high-tech labs within India’s space agency, ISRO. Perhaps the fact that the development of Megha-Tropiques and Saral were on, led the French President to visit the facility with First Lady Carla Bruni.

ISRO Chairman Radhakrishnan’s opening remarks on how ISRO was helped in its propulsion systems technology by the French. He revealed that ISRO had signed a deal with ARIANESPACE to launch India’s GSAT-8 in 2011 and GSAT-10 in 2012. He revealed that perhaps INSAT-3D would also be launched using ARIANESPACE’s launch vehicle. INSAT-3D was to be launched on board a GSLV Mk-2. Perhaps it’s failure to launch this year has pushed launches of critical satellites into ARIANESPACE. The only major deal to have been signed is with EADS Astrium, for which ISRO had built the Eutelsat-W2M and HYLAS-1.

The French President’s remarks seem to have been directed at a more general audience than in ISRO itself talking about the United Nations, Afghanistan and Nuclear and  education Co-operation.  Further into his speech he said two lines without elaborating much but which are interesting: “We will launch Indian satellites from Kourou, and European satellites from India. CNES and ISRO will develop a new research programme together.”

India already uses Kourou to launch various of its satellites but no pure European commercial satellite has been launched by India. For now, PSLV may be able to afford Europe a cheaper flight option than perhaps EADS. In an earlier report, EADS had suggested this as a possibility. The French President did not confirm this, though. The second line is interesting because of the shape this new research programme will take.

The other interesting statement from the French President’s speech is the “an unprecedented technological experiment that India is conducting to understand its population” reference. I am not aware of this experiment at all and have been trying to understand this reference.

Indo-French Nuclear Co-operation

Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as http://parallelspirals.blogspot.com. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on December 06, 2010 as per the time stamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

Vaiju Naravane of The Hindu writes about the Indo-French nuclear co-operation specifically talking about the deal with French nuclear company, Areva. I have been learning of the Jaitapur Nuclear Plant project mostly through Greenpeace and their Nuclear-Unsafe campaign. Sadly, Areva’s defences in public have not been very effective and have even been countered.

The Times of India today and the Greenpeace blog earlier reported on the protests against the Jaitapur Plant. It has been interesting to see a growing number of controversial projects coming up along the Maharashtra and Orissa coastlines.

I am personally not 100% against nuclear power. I am concerned about India putting in lots of public money to obtain a nuclear technology that is still in stages of refinement. In the software world, this is like downloading the beta or developers version of a software. One does not download such software if one does not know about the software’s vulnerability and issues. Similarily, investing money without having experience or an authority in new nuclear plants, India should have played it more safely than it has. Hopefully, better sense prevails.