BENGALURU: With the increasing concerns over space debris, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) recently signed an MoU with the Nainital-based Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) for cooperation in the field of astrophysics and Space Situational Awareness (SSA). The MoU will be useful “in safeguarding the Indian space assets from critical threats from space debris”, ISRO stated.
ARIES has experts with years of research on observational astronomy, astrophysics, and atmospheric sciences. Former ISRO chairman Kiran Kumar, who has been vocal about the effects of space debris with a large number of private players entering the sector, said that as smaller satellites are getting into space, the number of non-functional objects too are increasing.
“These objects that are not in control of any space agency can come in the way of other satellites, forcing space agencies to alter launch schedules and height of orbits to avoid collision. Today, every orbiting satellite keeps an eye on these objects and if they are likely to come in the vicinity of our operational satellite, we have to do some manoeuvres to ensure that there is no collision,” Kiran said. ISRO also uses information from the public domain on orbiting objects and has set up observation stations.
It is looking at making use of its capabilities to contribute to the global community, he said. ISRO said the MoU will pave way for future collaborations between ISRO and ARIES in establishing optical telescope observational facilities for space object tracking, R&D studies in space weather, astrophysics and near Earth objects.