SPEECH BY HER EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, SHRIMATI PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL AT ISRO
Sriharikota, 2nd January 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, the spaceport of India. This gives me an opportunity, which I have been looking forward to, to interact with the Indian Space Research Organization family present here, and with those at other ISRO centres, through video conferencing. It is, indeed, a wonderful way to begin the New Year. I extend my warmest greetings to all the members of the ISRO family, and wish you all a very successful and happy 2012.
The vision of the founding father of the Indian space programme, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, conceived about half a century ago, has manifested into the reality which we can see, feel and experience around us today. He had envisioned a meaningful role for space science and technology in finding solutions to the problems of the people in the country, and society as a whole. Dr. Sarabhai's vision was aptly executed by his illustrious successor Prof. Satish Dhawan. Of course, this was accomplished with a group of brilliant scientists and engineers working with Prof. Dhawan and his successors, who shaped ISRO from its early days to its current state of glory. I congratulate the entire lineage of the founding architects of ISRO, an organization which has brought pride and a sense of accomplishment to the nation. As I speak at this auditorium, I would like to specifically mention Shri M. R. Kurup, the former Director of this Centre, and the man behind India's strength in solid propulsion and rocketry, after whom this auditorium is also named.
Utilizing the application of its research and work for the benefit of society, should be one of the overriding objectives of any discipline of science and technology. The Indian space programme has always been distinguished for being application oriented. Today, space based applications have revolutionized the way Government machinery reaches out to its citizens, even in the far flung remote areas of the country. Tele-education and tele-medicine are among the readily identifiable areas. Along with these, we should develop tele-agriculture that educates farmers about rain-fed and dryland farming, so that it helps them in better farming, higher agriculture productivity and increased incomes. Satellite platforms will greatly help our economic growth. Remote sensing applications are needed for better management of our resources, whether these are land, forests, water or minerals. The role of observation systems in space and development of latest technology, as well as weather prediction systems, will become of even greater importance in the years ahead, for our food, water and energy security. The impact of climate change and the occurrence of disasters require enhancing our early warning systems and response capabilities. This will have a direct impact on the people and their ability to maintain their livelihood. In all these, the contribution of space technology is crucial.
It was the foresight in the early years of our independence that led us to focus on developing a scientific temper in the country. The excellent calibre and the willing commitment of our scientific community to national advancement made this possible. It is heartening that the Indian space programme was entirely indigenous, and has made much progress and achieved much since its inception. It has demonstrated the scientific capabilities and the technological prowess of the country, thereby, earning international approbation. Space cooperation is an important aspect of India's engagement with other countries, just to recall one instance. During my last visit overseas, in Austria, I was pleased to learn that two mini-satellites, built by researchers from the technical universities of Vienna and Graz are being launched by ISRO. There are many other instances of ISRO launching satellites of other countries. India does enjoy a niche amongst the space fairing nations of the world. I congratulate you for this.
A couple of hours ago, I experienced a fascinating simulation of the launch of a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle from our new 'Mission Control Center'. I am delighted to have declared open this new 'Mission Control Center', along with the new 'Launch Control Center', and to have dedicated the complex to the nation. I also saw the integration of the soon to be launched PSLV - C19 being assembled in full swing at the launch pad. Every launch brings its share of excitement and anxious moments to mission controllers and to every Indian and this new complex will be a witness to all these emotions in the future too.
There are other important "work missions" of ISRO. The entire country is looking forward to the successful flight testing by ISRO, of the indigenous cryogenic stage on-board the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle or GSLV. I understand that our next generation heavy-lift launch vehicle, the GSLV Mark III, is also in an advanced stage of development. The country felt a sense of joy and pride following the success of the Chandrayaan -1 mission, and the remarkable discovery of the water molecule on the lunar surface. I am sure the country will rejoice and once again be proud, when the Chandrayaan-2 mission places the lander and rover modules on the lunar terrain.
Satellite navigation is also coming up as a whole new vista in the Indian space programme. I am delighted to note that a constellation of seven navigation satellites would provide navigational services for civilian and strategic applications in the coming days.
There is a lot that has been achieved and there is a lot more to be achieved in the coming days. ISRO has a rich past and a very promising future. The entire country looks up to this team as a model of unflinching commitment, untiring energy, and professional excellence. I am pleased to be honouring the achievers, and the ISRO awards will, I am sure, go a long way in further encouraging the motivated and competent workforce which this organization represents. I am also pleased, that on this occasion, ISRO has given recognition to the efforts of young achievers and seasoned veterans. I congratulate each one of the awardees and their family members.
Today, at the dawn of 2012, we are at the threshold of advancements in our ambitious space programmes. There is hope and promise; optimism and potential; there are avenues that reckon us to celebrate mankind's victory over gravitation; to reach the unreached; to do the undone, and to excel in understanding the mysteries of our limitless Universe.
I wish you the very best. Once again, I convey my greetings to all for the New Year.