Even as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) gears up for its ambitious space mission ‘Gaganyaan’, touted as the foundation of the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme and envisioned to take flight by 2022, the national space agency is also spearheading a stupendous initiative that will provide a platform for the youth in space research.
ISRO has already begun setting up six incubation centres, each titled the Space Technology Incubation Centre (S-TIC). Now the space agency also plans to institute six research and development centres across the country in the next one year.
In fact, one of the incubation centres has already started functioning out of Agartala, following its inauguration at the ‘Spacetronics’ conclave in September.
At a budget of ₹2 crore each, centres are slated to come up in Jalandhar, Bhubaneswar, Nagpur, Indore and Tiruchirapalli eventually. At the same time, the space research institutes are reportedly being planned in cities like Guwahati, Jaipur, Varanasi, Kurukshetra, Patna and Kanyakumari.
“These incubation centres will promote start-ups and give thrust to innovations and research in space technologies. They will be opened wherever there is the presence of academia and industrialists. The centres will help start-ups develop prototypes of components in space systems in partnership with the industry. ISRO will evaluate these prototypes and buy them depending upon their worthiness,” said ISRO chairman K Sivan to The Times of India.
The chairman also stated that the space agency is keen upon providing seed capital to these startups, in addition to bearing the cost of infrastructure and providing initial funds to startups for space equipment.
The S-TIC project is one-of-its-kind initiative conceived by ISRO to bring academia, industry and R&D institutions under one single platform, where students pursuing research, postgraduate or even undergraduate studies will be given the rare opportunity of working with the national agency in its on-going and futuristic programmes.
Besides inculcating a much needed research culture amongst the student community in India, the initiative will also pave way for students to come up with unique and innovative solutions in areas of relevance and importance to ISRO, whose products or prototypes would be tested and qualified at the existing facilities of ISRO and subsequently inducted in the on-going projects of ISRO, as and when need be.
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)