THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The spat between G Madhavan Nair and K Radhakrishnan may not have helped the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to hit the popularity charts, but the hue and cry over the ANTRIX-DEVAS scandal has apparently left ISRO’s five-year-old ‘kindergarten’ for space scientists in the district unscathed.
For its entrance examination ISAT-2012 scheduled for April 21, the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Valiyamala, has received a mind-boggling 1.22 lakh applications, an increase of 20,000-25,000 applications over last year.
The actual numbers who would be cleared to sit for the entrance test, which has quickly emerged as one of the country’s toughest, would be a little lesser; but as of now, IIST has received 1.22 lakh applications. ‘’Such a large number of applications is clear indication that the awareness about the institute is higher among the student community now. When we started out in 2007, comparatively fewer students knew about it,’’ IIST director Dr K S Dasgupta said.
Of 95,000-plus candidates who applied, 83,000 students had appeared for ISAT-2011. Of this, 144 had made it to IIST. Moreover, the fact that 117 of the 125 students who joined the IIST’s first batch in 2007 found placement in ISRO units also has increased the institute’s charm among young job aspirants, IIST officials say. (IIST assures all students who complete its four-year BTech courses placement in ISRO, provided they meet a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average of 6.5 out of 10).
For the 2012-13 academic year, IIST has 156 seats in BTech streams avionics (60), aerospace engineering (60) and physical sciences (36). The results will be published on May 23.
Opened to address the manpower crunch faced by the ISRO, IIST initially drew its candidates from the IIT-JEE, but had soon started its own entrance examination. ISAT-2012 will be held across 22 centres in the country, including two in Kerala (Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode). There is also a centre at Port Blair, and one in the north-east at Dispur.