IIT Madras hosts the first ISRO – Space Technology Cell Confluence

Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras hosted the first meeting of Space Technology Cells (STCs) established in premier research institutions in the country by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Department of Space, Government of India.

ISRO – IIT Madras Space Technology Cell Confluence 2019, the first meeting of all the Space Technology Cells, was held at IIT Madras on 16th and 17th September 2019. The objective was to share information about the research underway in various institutions, the salient findings, and to understand the utilisation of output by ISRO.

ISRO and the Department of Space, Government of India, has established and operated the Space Technology Cells for over three decades in IIT Madras as well as IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, and Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, to carry out focussed research in space-related technologies. More recently, Space Technology Cells were also created in IIT Guwahati and IIT Roorkee.

Speaking about this programme, Dr. S. Ramakrishnan, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, Distinguished Professor, ISRO, and Former Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, highlighted the emerging ISRO missions and urged the involvement of academia in addressing the Research and Development requirements to achieve the missions.

Delivering the Presidential Address, Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, said that the ISRO – Space Technology Cell at IIT Madras has carried out several projects, since 1985 to various centres of ISRO. He highlighted the importance of collaborative research and suggested mechanisms for the faculty to spend 3-4 weeks in ISRO centres to interact with the scientists and understand their need to make joint proposals.

During the two-day event, presentations were made by the conveners of various STCs and the success stories were shared. The relevance and absorption of technologies at ISRO were also presented by the RESPOND coordinators of various centres.

A panel of experts discussed the ‘Role of Academia in Indian Space Programme – A New Approach’ and suggested ways to move forward. Dr. P.V. Venkatakrishnan, Director, Capacity Building Programme Office, ISRO, summarised the proceedings in the events and the key take-aways of the confluence. Dr. M A Paul, Associate Director, RESPOND and AI, ISRO, proposed the vote of thanks.