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India aims to achieve debris-free space missions by 2030: ISRO chief Somanath

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BENGALURU, April 16: ISRO Chairman S Somanath on Tuesday announced that India aims to achieve debris-free space missions by 2030.

Addressing the 42nd Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) annual meet here, he said ISRO has a very clearly laid out plan as far as space exploration and space utilisation are concerned for the coming days.

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“It is one of the intent or initiative of India to ensure that debris-free space missions are conducted so as to ensure the sustainability of space. I would like to make this initiative a declaration today, possibly this can be discussed and debated in the coming days,” Somanath, also Secretary in the Department of Space, said.

“This initiative aims to achieve debris-free space missions by all Indian space actors, governmental and non-governmental, by 2030. India also encourages all state space actors to follow this initiative for long-term sustainability of outer space,” he said. “Currently, we have 54 spacecraft in 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 objects from its active role once it is over to deorbit and bringing them to a safe location has been one of the important topics that we have been taking action all throughout,” he said.

Somanath also said ISRO wants to make sure that for all the spacecraft that it is likely to launch in future, it takes action to make sure that it deorbits and also bring it to a safe location.

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“We also make sure that within the systems that we launch, including the upper stages of the rocket or the spacecraft, we create a mechanism by which we will be removing all energetic possibilities within that by careful design as well as implementation of principles so that it will not really cause any additional debris creation,” he added.

He also stressed the need to develop skills “especially when you are looking at future explorations, possibly not within the earth orbit, but also far beyond the earth orbit, especially the earth, moon systems, as well as in solar planetary explorations. I think all those areas are also becoming crowded, especially domains like — the moon is also becoming crowded.”

Speaking about India planning to set up its own space station ‘Bharatiya Antriksh Station’ by 2035, Somanath said ISRO would look at the orbit where there are more space stations coming up in those ranges of orbits. “I think this area has to be protected for sustained human presence in space.”

“We would like to look at the agreements on all the space stations and all space actors, including private space actors, to comply with the guidelines of how to make sure that the space is sustainable and make sure we don’t propagate activities so as to create more debris so that human beings continue exploration of space in the coming days actively,” he said. (PTI)

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