‘Forays into Space and Beyond’- A Endowment Lecture by Dr K Kasturirangan at St Aloysius College

‘Forays into Space and Beyond’- A Endowment Lecture by Dr K Kasturirangan-Former Chairman of ISRO held at St Aloysius College, Mangaluru on 4 December 2019

Mangaluru: St Aloysius College (Autonomous), Mangaluru organized an Endowment Lecture on the topic ‘Forays into Space and Beyond’ on December 4, 2019, at L F Rasquinha Hall, LCRI Block. Dr K Kasturirangan, Former Chairman of ISRO and Chairman of the Committee for Drafting National Education Policy was the Speaker.

Rev. Fr Dionysius Vas SJ, Rector, St Aloysius Institutions presided over the programme. Dr Fr Praveen Martis SJ, principal, St Aloysius College, Dr John E D’Silva, Director of Xavier Block, Dr Ronald Nazareth, Coordinator of the programme and Dr Vinola Rodrigues, Convener of the programme were on the dais. Rector in his presidential address, briefed on the Indian space programmes. He said that space research has given so much to the world. He emphasized the role of sustainable development goals which would definitely be attained through space research.

Dr K Kasturirangan in his lecture articulated about the history, the expanse and context of space exploration by various nations with relation to military, scientific and socio-economic development. He narrated the vision of the Indian space research organization mentioning how it meets the socio-economic needs of the society. He reminisced the role of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai in Indian space exploration, achievements of ISRO in the last 5 decades of Indian space exploration and the five major programmes of ISRO namely remote sensing, communication, broadcasting, navigation, space science applications and space transportation.

He also gave information regarding the application of IRS series of satellites in disaster management, environment and ecology, agriculture and soil management. He elaborated on the growth of ISRO through – PSLV, GSLV, GSLV MK-III, space vehicles. He also told about the future space missions of ISRO and other important missions of India in science and technology. He gave an insight into the timeline of Indian space launch projects; Chandrayaan 1 (2008), Mangalyaan (2013), Astrosat (2015)-the only multi-wavelength observatory satellite in the world and Chandrayaan 2 (2019) which have been milestones in world space exploration.

He revealed the future projects envisioned by ISRO; Aditya L1 and Xposat (2020), Venus Orbiter (2023), Chandrayaan 3 (2024) and ExoWorlds (2025) – the proposed exo-planet mission by ISRO. “This will be the most challenging mission of ISRO which intends to explore details of the precursors of life on other planets,” he said. He concluded his speech by quoting John F Kennedy, “There are costs and risks to a program of action, but they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction”.

During the programme, Dr K Kasturirangan was felicitated for his commendable contribution in the field of Science and Education. Dr A.M. Narahari, Registrar, Dr Alwyn D’Sa, Controller of Examinations, Dr Dennis Fernandes, Dr Loveena Lobo, the Directors, Rev Dr Denzil Lobo, Director of AIMIT, Rev Fr Vincent Pinto SJ, Finance Officer, Deans were present for the programme.

Preema Cealla Pais, Dept of PG Chemistry compered the programme. Dr John E D’Silva welcomed the gathering. Rev. Dr Praveen Martis SJ introduced Dr K. Kasturirangan and read the Citation. Dr Ronald Nazareth proposed the vote of thanks.


Dr K. Kasturirangan is currently Chairman, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Chancellor, Central University of Rajasthan, Chairman, Public Affairs Centre, Bangalore, Member, Atomic Energy Commission, an Emeritus Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore, and Honorary Distinguished Advisor, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Earlier, as Chairman of ISRO, he oversaw the space programme of India between the years 1994 and 2003. He was a Member, Upper House of the Indian Parliament (2003-2009) and concurrently the Director of NIAS, Bangalore and subsequently, Member of the erstwhile Planning Commission. Dr Kasturirangan was also the Chairman of the Committee entrusted with drafting the new National Education Policy (July 2017-December 2018). Dr Kasturirangan completed his Bachelor of Science with Honours and Master of Science in Physics from Bombay University and received his Doctorate in Experimental High Energy Astronomy in 1971 while working at the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad. His interests include astrophysics, space science and technology as well as science-related policies.

Dr Kasturirangan is a Member of several International and National Science Academies. He is a Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences and served as its President during 2001-03. He is Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineering and was its President during 2005-06. He was also General President of the Indian Science Congress for the years 2002-2003. Besides, he is the Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy and the National Academy of Sciences of India. Dr Kasturirangan is the only Indian to be conferred the Honorary Membership of the International Academy of Astronautics and having served as its Vice President earlier. He is a Member of the International Astronomical Union and a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). He is the Honorary Fellow of the Cardiff University, UK and Academician of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City.

He has won several awards including Brock Medal of International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, (2004), Allan D Emil Memorial Award of the International Astronautical Federation (2004), Theodore Von Karman Award by International Academy of Astronautics (2007), Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in Engineering, Aryabhata Award 2003 of Astronautical Society of India, Lifetime Achievement Award of Asia-Pacific Satellite communications Council, Singapore, Aryabhata Medal by Indian National Science Academy (2000), Asutosh Mookerjee Memorial Award by the Indian Science Congress, Award of Jewel of Ruia, Ruia College Alumni Association, 2007; Maharana Udai Singh Award 2007-08 by Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, Udaipur, 2008; Rajayogindra Award, Maharaja of Mysore (2008); Vikram Sarabhai Memorial Gold Medal, Indian Science Congress (2009) etc. He has been conferred with the highest civilian honours Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan by the President of India and Award of ‘Officer of the Legion d’honneur’ by the President of the French Republic, France.

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