Post GSLV Failure comments

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 29, 2010 as per the time stamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

I have refrained from commenting too much about the GSLV failure after the initial reaction, which was also emotional on my part. This is mainly because there has been a lot of speculation already in various newspapers. This has been caused by the sudden springing up of subject experts by TV and newspapers when they found that they did not get through to any ISRO official on time. They did this only to break the story. I have presented these suggestions to aerospace friends and they say it is too premature to tell the cause of failure.

These are the news stories and videos of the GSLV failure that I read and collected from the web:

    1. This report by Stephen Clark for Spaceflight Now is the sanest report to read.
    2. Hindustan Times has posted this IANS report first on speculation that the heavier payload mass caused the failure. There are mirrors of this report in Economic Times and DNA.
    3. This report by Nirad Mudur of DNA speculates whether this was an ISRO goof up i.e. oversight error.
    4. This report by Charu Sudan Kasthuri of the Hindustan Times on ISRO’s clarification that they will use the GSLV Mk-II vehicle for Chandrayaan-II.
    5. This report by T S Subramanium of The Hindu suggests that the failure of connectors is a very trivial problem.
    6. Pathri Rajashekhar of The Asian Age reports suggest that it is the workers fault that the accident occured.
    7. Another report by T S Subramanium of The Hindu. I give kudos to him to have the presence of mind to question the VSSC Director. VSSC is the centre which builds India’s launch vehicles.

In short, these so called “space experts” have criticised everything that was new on this spacecraft. I think the best way for ISRO to correct its mistake is to follow the engineering creed and not bow down to immediate needs of media houses, political party or a short-memoried public. I hope ISRO officials can thrash down the problems.

I would also apologise for my own speculation in the previous post. But, I still think ISRO should nonetheless put the launch stack through re-qualification and test them again. It does not hurt.

Improved NRSC Data delivery time

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 29, 2010 as per the time stamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

National Remote Sensing Centre Director V Jayaraman has told media persons today that the delivery of GIS products from India will now be significantly improved thanks to the development a Multi-Mission Ground Segment in Hyderabad at an estimated cost of 35-40 crore Rupees.

The main thrust of the development is that this will reduce delivery time from 3-4 days to about 12 hours and up to 1 hour in case of emergency. I had commented earlier upon the lack of early data availability in the aftermath of the Mumbai Oil Spill and the Ladakh cloudburst. I think this is a step in the right direction to making information flows faster. This will also make available critical data at the critical moment and not at some later date.

Going back to the Temple

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 29, 2010 as per the time stamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

Between the age of 18 and 23, I didn’t go to temples off my own accord. I normally tagged along with family. It was during this period that I read Krishnamurthi and Osho. I was also a member of the skeptic gang and was trying to find a scientific way of defining God. In reference to this, at a recent lecture series, Jaydeep Mukherjee said that it was vital that science and religion be kept separate. Do not try to explain science with religion or religion with science.

The ice started breaking on my freeze on visiting temples when I read S Radhakrishnan’s book “The Hindu View of Life”. I then differentiated between visiting temple for spiritual aims and visiting temple for ritualistic aims. A look back will show you that it is this ritualistic Hinduism that spawned Buddhism and the various reform movements in the 19th century. The spiritual Hinduism is not totally devoid of problems, but it does its best under the circumstances.

It was Krishnamurthi who stressed on living from one moment to another, Osho re-emphasized it and introduced me to Zen Buddhism. My interest in Osho began when I read his critique of Krishnamurthi which was fun. It then went further when I heard the Malayalam film actor, Mohan Lal had “followed” some of his ideas. This turned out later to be not entirely true. It was around this time that my Orkut entry for religion turned from atheist to agnostic.

There are not many places where you get to go and sit alone in some place in India without getting disturbed by a long forgotten relatives (apologies to all such relatives, but you’re timing does not help sometimes). I thought the temple would act as a refuge but I have not tried it yet. I have considered the temple, though.

How US missed the Pakistani nuclear programme

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 31, 2010 as per the time stamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.

A non-governmental research institute located in the libraries of George Washington University called the National Security Archives has published documents relating to US-Pakistan relation vis-a-vis the development of nuclear weapons capability. The Press Trust of India reported today that the documents contain revealations about then Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai’s response to a US request of making South Asia nuclear-weapons free.

This has made an interesting foray into nuclear programme before going to the talk by Dr. Yair Evron.