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Former ISRO Scientist: ‘International conspiracy’ halted India’s leap into space

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Bengaluru: The indigenous cryogenic engine which was put on the pedestal last Friday for the third time by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) in a ground test proved its mettle. This huge step towards a geostationary satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) in December could prove to be the country’s first heavy-lift version in this field.

This was the third and final successful ground test of the indigenous cryogenic engine by ISRO.

The GSLV-Mark-III can carry a payload of four tons, about twice the capacity of ISRO’s existing rockets. The C-20 engine that was “hot tested” for 635 seconds at the Liquid Propulsion Complex at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu will be used to power the rocket’s upper stage.

But S Nambinarayanan, former Project director of ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems, says this milestone could have been crossed 12 years ago had his project not been derailed by an “international conspiracy” to halt India’s leap into space.

It was Nambinarayanan who introduced the liquid fuel rocket technology in India in the 1980s. The Vikas engine used today by all ISRO launch vehicles, including the one that took Chandrayaan-1 to the moon in 2008 and Mangalyaan, was the result of two decades of work by his team with assistance from France.

And, as project director of the newly-launched indigenous cryogenic engine project, he plunged headlong into developing the propulsion systems for ISRO’s GSLV and interplanetary missions. With this in mind, in 1991, he signed a contract on behalf of ISRO with the Russian space agency Glavkosmos for the technology transfer of a cryogenic propulsion system.

But things did not turn out as planned. Glavkosmos, in 1993, reneged under pressure from the United States. And Nambinarayanan was arrested on November 1994 on charges of selling India’s “rocket secrets to Pakistan through two Maldivian women ‘spies’ leading to his suspension from his job.” With Nambinarayanan out of the scene, the cryogenic engine development suffered.

“Cancellation of the contract and my arrest were part of an agenda of the US, accomplished by conniving with officials of our Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Kerala Police,” Nambinarayanan told this correspondent in an email. As an evidence of conspiracy, he refers to the dismissal of an IB officer of the rank of the joint director in 1996 for his alleged links with the CIA.

In fact, in 1996, the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), which took up the “ISRO spy case” found it to be false and fabricated by the IB and the Kerala Police- a finding endorsed by the Supreme Court in April 1998 and by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in September 1999.

The NHRC also passed strictures against the Kerala government for having “tarnished (Nambinarayanan’s) long and distinguished career in space research apart from the physical and mental torture to which he and his family were subjected.”

Nambinarayanan says he managed to obtain the supplies and documents relating to the cryogenic engine from Russia’s Glavkosmos before it cancelled the contract and arranged a private airline (Ural Aviation) to transport the cargo to India in four shipments.

“With this, I hoped ISRO could master the cryogenic technology,” he said. But his suspension from ISRO’s cryogenics systems project put an end to that.

“Had there been no conspiracy, ISRO would have achieved space power status long back, maybe as early as 2000,” Nambinarayanan told reporters. “Today, we are not only delayed by more than 12 years but have also lost several billion dollars worth of launch business.”

The rocket scientist feels sad that while the CBI concluded that the ISRO “spy case” was false and fabricated, nobody bothered to unearth the motives behind it or punish those officers of the IB and the Kerala Police who were charged with negligence and dereliction of duty by CBI.

“The government should constitute a special investigation team to find out the total truth in the ISRO spy case,” he said.

While ISRO is celebrating last week’s successful “hot test” of its new cryogenic engine, Nambinarayanan, 75, who started this work two decades ago, is now spending much of his time fighting court cases, to get Rs 1 crore (Over $145,000) in damages he had claimed from the state and central governments.

He is also seeking action against police officers who framed him and others in a false case that harmed India’s space program. (K.S. Jayaraman, IANS)

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  • Ravi

    What a loss for the nation ! Some people would sell their mother for money. Look at the gravity of the crime committed against Shri Nambinarayan! Those responsible should be punished and their ill gotten wealth to be confiscated.

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20 Amazing Facts About Indian Navy That Everyone Should Know

Indian Navy is also known by the name of Bharatiya Nau Sena. The naval persons are no less than the superheroes.

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The roots of Indian Navy can be traced back to the 17th-century. Wikimedia Commons
The roots of Indian Navy can be traced back to the 17th-century. Wikimedia Commons

NEW DELHI: India is the seventh-largest country in the world and owns the coastline of 7,516.6 km. Here comes the role of the Indian navy, which is responsible for safeguarding and securing such an enormous coastal area. Navy always holds a very strategic role in a country like India.

Indian navy is a prodigious name in itself and budding force to reckon with. Indian Navy is the naval branch of the armed forces of India and works along with the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army. It is the fifth largest Navy and is considered as one of the strongest navies around the world. The headquarters of Navy is located in New Delhi.

Indian Navy is also known by the name of Bharatiya Nau Sena. The naval persons are no less than the superheroes. Their constant will to serve the nation and sheer dedication are commendable.

The current flag of Indian Navy incorporates St. George’s Cross design, a part of the Union Jack. Wikimedia Commons
The current flag of Indian Navy incorporates St. George’s Cross design, a part of the Union Jack. Wikimedia CommonsThe current flag of Indian Navy incorporates St. George’s Cross design, a part of the Union Jack. Wikimedia Commons

Indian Navy Day is celebrated on 4 December and the motto of the naval force is ‘Sham No Varunaḥ’, which means “may the Lord of the water be auspicious unto us”. The current flag of Indian Navy incorporates St. George’s Cross design, a part of the Union Jack.

The roots of Indian Navy can be traced back to the 17th-century. Initially, British East India Company established the naval fleet in India, under the name of East India Company’s Marine in 1612. Later on, it was renamed as Royal Indian Navy but soon after the independence, Royal Indian Navy became Indian Navy.

Here are 20 interesting facts about our naval superheroes of the seas that defend our coastal areas.

  1. Indian Navy is headed by the Chief of Naval Staff. Other high ranks in Navy include Vice Chief of Naval Staff, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Personnel etc.
  2. India’s first aircraft carrier was INS Vikrant. INS Viraat of the Indian navy is the largest aircraft carrier in India.
  3. Ezhimala Naval Academy in Kerala is the largest naval academy in the whole of Asia.

    MARCOS is the special operation unit of the Indian Navy. Wikimedia Commons
    MARCOS is the special operation unit of the Indian Navy. Wikimedia Commons
  4. Indian navy holds the distinction of one of the only two naval aerobatic teams in the world. The name of the aerobatic demonstration team is Sagar Pawan which uses 4 HJT-16 Kiran Mk.2 trainer aircrafts. The colour scheme used by the naval aircrafts is dark blue on white. The other aerobatic demonstration team is Blue Angels of the US Navy.
  5. After the terrorist attack of 26/11, Indian Navy came up with patrolling units known as Sagar Prahari Bal (SPB) to keep a check on India’s coastal waters.
  6. The crucial naval bases of Indian Navy are located in Mumbai, Kochi, Visakhapatnam, Goa, Chennai, Pune, Coimbatore, Chilka and Port Blair.
  7. The Navy works under three commands: Western Command in Mumbai, Eastern Command in Vishakhapatnam and Southern Command in Cochin. All these commands are headed by a Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief.
  8. MARCOS or Marine Commandos are the special operations unit of Indian navy like the Para unit of Army. It is one of the most distinguished and efficient special forces in the world. The force is acknowledged ‘Dadiwala fauj‘ by the various terrorist groups, due to as known by their bearded disguises in civil areas. The dropout rate is about 90 percent, which makes it really difficult to make the cut.

    Ezhimala Naval Academy in Kerala is the largest naval academy in the whole of Asia. Wikimedia Commons
    Ezhimala Naval Academy in Kerala is the largest naval academy in the whole of Asia. Wikimedia Commons
  9. The 1971 Indo-Pakistani war is considered as the largest naval conflicts since the Second World War. During the combat, Navy successfully targeted many enemy ships and destroy the oil tank farms by using anti-ship cruise missiles.
  10. During the Britsh rule in 1946, 20,000 Indian sailors rebelled against the British policies of discrimination and trial of ex-INA soldiers. But unfortunately, the mutiny was suppressed due to inadequate support from the INC and Muslim League.
  11. The naval variant of BrahMos missile is the fastest cruise missile in the world. The missile can zoom at a speed of Mach 2.8 – 3.0. This capability makes India the only country with supersonic cruise missiles in all of their defense forces.
  12. Chhatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosale is considered as the Father of Indian Navy. Chhatrapati built a strong naval presence across the coast of Konkan and Goa to protect sea trade.
  13. Indian Navy has a dedicated multi-brand communication satellite called GSAT – 7. It was launched by ISRO to help Indian Navy in acquiring the blue water capabilities in a much better way.

    Indian Navy has a dedicated multi-brand communication satellite called GSAT – 7. Wikimedia Commons
    Indian Navy has a dedicated multi-brand communication satellite called GSAT – 7. Wikimedia Commons
  14. The Naval soldiers of the Indian Navy have successfully completed an expedition to the North Pole and the South Pole.
  15. Indian Navy was the first navy in the world to send a submariner to an expedition to Mt. Everest. The expedition was led by Lt. Cdr. M.S. Kohli in 1965.
  16. The first independent operation of the Indian Navy’s was against Portuguese Navy during the liberation of Goa in 1961.
  17. The first Chief of Staff of the Indian Navy was Vice Admiral Ram Dass Katari who assumed the office on April 22, 1958.
  18. Indian Navy played a decisive role in the success of Kargil War. However, this information was kept under wraps for a long time. Personals from the MARCOS unit fought alongside Indian army in the Himalayas under the naval operation, Talwar.
  19. INS Arihant is the first ballistic missile submarine to have been built by a country other than the five permanent members of the UNSC. It is a 6,000-tonne vessel and India’s only nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine.
  20. All the ships of Indian Navy are prefixed with INS which means Indian Naval Ship or Indian Navy Station.
There are 11 destroyers deployed by the Indian Navy. Wikimedia Commons
There are 11 destroyers deployed by the Indian Navy. Wikimedia Commons

Indian Navy keeps itself abreast of any adversity by striking a balance between its warships, aircrafts and patrol vessels. The current operational fleet of the Indian navy consists of 1 aircraft carrier, 11 destroyers, 14 frigates, 24 corvettes and 16 submarines. Aiming high on ‘Make in India’ program, most Navy ships and submarines are now manufactured indigenously.