Need skills to go far beyond Earth's orbit: ISRO chief Somanath at Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee

BENGALURU: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief S Somanath said on Tuesday that the world space community needs to develop skills to go far beyond Earth's orbit, like the Earth-moon systems and solar planetary exploration.

"We also need to develop skills, especially when you are looking at future exploration, possibly not within the Earth's orbit, but also far beyond Earth's orbit, especially in the Earth-moon systems as well as in solar planetary exploration. I think all those areas are also becoming crowded. Especially domains like the moon are also becoming crowded. I believe that this group will be looking at that aspect as well in greater detail in the coming days...," Somanath said while speaking at the inaugural meet of the 42nd Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC).

The ISRO chief also issued a declaration saying that India aims to create debris free space missions by 2030.

"Debris free space missions by all Indian actors, governmental and non-governmental by 2030. India also encourages all other space actors to follow this initiative for long term sustainability in the outer space," Somanath said.

The ISRO Chief said that India is in the process of creating mechanisms and structures to ensure that debris is not generated.

"We are creating mechanisms and structures within the space systems so that impact generated debris are not propagated substantially in large numbers. A lot of this has been going on in the last many years very well. We need all those activities much stronger in the coming days," Somanath said.

Speaking about re-orbiting the non-functional space objects, the ISRO chief said, "As far as ISRO is concerned we have a very clear laid out program in space exploration and space utilisation. Currently we have 54 spacecraft's in our orbit, plus there are non-functional objects. We have been taking very careful action wherever it is possible to dispose of or remove the space object from its active role once it is over and re-orbit and bring it to a safe location..."

The ISRO cheif also proposed to ensure that the orbit around 400 kilometers are protected so that more space stations can come up to ensure sustained human presence in space.

"Our long-term space program definitely look at debris and its mitigation as one of the important topics. With the goal of building a space station in the coming days, we look at orbit where there are more space stations coming up at 400 km. I think this area should be protected for sustained human presence in space," Somanath said.

Somanath also stressed on having a relook into all space agreements to ensure less debris generation by all prayers in space.

"We have to look at the agreement on all the space stations and all space actors including private space actors who comply with the guidelines of how to make sure space is sustainable and make sure we do not propagate activities so as to create more debris so that human beings continue exploration of space in the coming days," the ISRO chief said.


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