Higher Education

Space ambition in IITs

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When Chandrayaan-I soared into space last October, so did the dreams of many young and aspiring IITians keen on a career with the Indian First results from Chandrayaan 1 Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Says a professor from IIT-Bombay's aerospace engineering department, 'Ever since Chandrayaan lifted off, space has become the magic word among students. They aspire to become rocket scientists and hope to play a role in taking India beyond the moon some day.' he added the fact that ISRO has planned a manned mission to the low earth orbit (Leo, 2000 km above earth) in 2014, a mission to Mars around 2020 and another to the moon is a great source of excitement. Two fourth year BTech aerospace students, Shashank Tamaskar and Kartavya Neema, are already doing a research project on interplanetary flight. Says Shashank, “Inspired by Chandrayaan-I, I am doing a study on a satellite's flight from Leo to the moon.” He started work on the project in August 2008, when Chandrayaan was being primed for its historic launch, and hopes to complete it in ayear.

After India tested its nuclear weapons at Pokhran on May 11 and 13 in 1998, the number of applications received by BARC's training school in Trombay increased manifold. Today, job openings at ISRO carry more lucrative packagesbecause a slew of projects is in the pipeline. The space buzz has infected IIT-Kanpur as well. S Kamle, head of the aerospace engineering department there, says, 'Now, there's a lot of excitement in our department about space, with students talking about rocketry and satellites.' They had been designing a rover for Chandrayaan-II, he adds, which is slated for launch in 2012. But during PM Manmohan Singh's visit to Moscow in November 2007, a decision was taken to carry a Russian rover and lander instead.

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