Space technology is increasingly being used in multiple applications such as weather forecasting, disaster management, transportation, management and conservation of natural resources, urban planning, communications and remote sensing satellites, telecommunications, and many more. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has set up Space Technology Cells (STC) at premier Indian Institutes of Technology – Bombay, Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras, Roorkee and Guwahati to carry out advanced research in several fields related to space technology and applications. Space Technology Cells at IIT Bombay and IIT Madras were established in the years 1984 and 1985, respectively. The STC at IIT Kharagpur, known as Kalpana Chawla Space Technology Cell (KCSTC) was founded in 1998. The ISRO-IIT Kanpur Space Technology Cell was established in 2001. Recently, in 2019, Space Technology Cells were also created in IIT Guwahati, IIT Roorkee and IIT Delhi. Space Technology Cells set up in these premier institutes in the country play a major role in raising the Indian space technology research and applications to the newer heights and intend to harness the advanced areas of space science & technology by taking up initiatives to carry out researches of high importance to the Indian Space Programme, thereby contribute to future space technology and the all-round development of the nation.
The achievements of Space Science and Technology constantly bring new challenges to space technologists that encourage them to face it head-on and come up with brilliant solutions to facilitate advances in space technology. Through STCs, several projects for setting up space technology are given to the faculty of IIT, after a peer review of the proposals. In most of these research projects, there are active interactions between IIT faculty members and research scientists of various laboratories of ISRO. The broad areas of research by STCs include: Aerodynamics, Propulsion, Communications, Space Physics, Composite Materials, Heat Transfer, Power Electronics, Cryogenics, Gas Dynamics, Structures, Space Radiation, Remote Sensing, Supersonic Flow Studies, Materials Metallurgy, Combustion, Aerospace and Controls, Data Compression Technology etc.
ISRO has agreed to support eight joint research projects mooted by the STC of IIT Delhi. ISRO will support these projects under its RESPOND programme with varying duration of 1-3 years. The eight collaborative research projects on which the scientists from different ISRO centres and IIT Delhi will work jointly include:
While welcoming the joint research activities between ISRO and IIT Delhi under the Space Technology Cell, Prof V. Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi said, “IIT Delhi is committed to taking its interactions with ISRO to the next level. The Institute has some of the world’s experts in various technology domains such as land surface modelling, remote sensing, molecular dynamics simulations etc. who will extend their expertise to ISRO and play a key role in making its future endeavours successful”. On the ISRO side, the projects will be coordinated by the agency’s scientists at the Space Applications Centre (SAC), the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), the Semi-conductor Laboratory (SCL) and the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC).