BENGALURU:French space agency CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales) became the first international space agency to collaborate with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on its Human Space Programme (HSP) — Gaganyaan. Following the signing of agreements between the two parties on Thursday, the agencies “will be combining their expertise in the fields of space medicine, astronaut health monitoring, life support, radiation protection, space debris protection and personal hygiene systems.”
The announcement was made by CNES president Jean-Yves Le Gall during the inaugural of Bengaluru Space Expo-2018 where he was the chief guest. It is being organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry along with ISRO and Antrix, the agency’s commercial arm, from September 6 to 8.
He told TNIE that this was just the beginning and specialists from both the agencies have to work together to implement the terms of the agreement. “We have expertise in the field of medicine. We have a Space Hospital in Toulouse,” he said. Earlier, ISRO Chairman K Sivan said though the Indian agency was good in engineering the vehicles required for HSP, things were a bit complicated when the payload was human.
“It is more life science than engineering,” he said, indicating a possible collaboration in the field.
According to Le Gall, the finer details of the collaboration between the two agencies will be clear only six months from now. To a question on whether France will also train astronauts for the flight, he said they were likely to be trained in India. CNES, he said, had past experiences in preparing astronauts in the Space Hospital and training pilots for long duration flights — a key factor in HSPs.
The two agencies will also collaborate on climate monitoring with a fleet of joint satellites and deep-space exploration with work under way on France’s contribution to future Indian missions to Mars, Venus and asteroids. Also, Oceansat 3-Argos mission of the two agencies will be launched next year and the French-Indian Trishna thermal infrared imaging satellite is being readied.
Crew module re-entry system cynosure of all eyes
Greeting visitors at the Expo is one of the Crew Module Re-entry systems developed by ISRO. The module stands at a height of 10 feet with a diameter of 13-14 feet and is the single largest exhibit at the expo. The crew module is one of the few technologies to aid future astronauts from India, as they make space their home for a few days in future space missions. Apart from the Gaganyaan kiosk, which attracted considerable footfall, the kiosk by ISRO was the largest in terms of area. Several models of launch vehicles, satellites and others were on display. Some satellites developed by students from the Vellore Institute of Technology and Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology were featured.