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ISRO chief: Need to speed up mega RTA project


ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar on Friday underscored the need to speed up the Regional Transport Aircraft (RTA) project. Inaugurating a two-day national conference on the emerging trends in aerospace technologies organised by the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI) here, he said the real challenge is whether small aircraft with a seating capacity for 70-90 passengers could be manufactured in the country in a cost-effective manner.

 “Not much has happened in passenger aircraft development (in the country),’’ he said. Kumar’s concern regarding the much-delayed RTA programme comes at a time when the Centre is pressing ahead with the ‘Udan’ regional air connectivity scheme. He also touched upon the problems faced by developing nations in getting their products certified for use.

“We need to take up the issue (with the powers be) and get it resolved,’’ he said. Jitendra Jhadhav, director, National Aeronautics Ltd (NAL), said India will need two types of aircraft in the coming years – those with a passenger capacity of 19-20 and a second one which can accommodate 70-80 persons. The first category of aircraft will connect towns less than 300 km apart while the other will link places located at a distance of  500 km and above.   He was speaking on ‘Development of Future Commuter Aircraft (electric propulsion and pilotless cockpit) – opportunities’.

Former DRDO Director General V K Saraswat, who presided over the function, said India faces a lacuna in terms of design capability, whether it be in machinery or aircraft. ‘’I think design is our weakness. Design capabilities have to be harnessed much more significantly,’’ he said.  AeSI Thiruvananthapuram chairman S Pandian, VSSC director K Sivan, Honorary ISRO distinguished professor Y S Rajan, spoke. ISRO gears up for year-end PSLV mission KOVALAM: After the disappointment in the PSLV C-39 mission, ISRO is gearing up for its next PSLV mission.

ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar said on Friday the mission will lift off either in November or December. Kiran attributed the C-39 failure to problems in the separation of the heat shield. The PSLV launch vehicle as such had no problems at all, he said on the sidelines of ASET-2017, organised by the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI) at Kovalam.

 “The Failure Analysis Committee is going through that. They are in the final stages of their findings. They are also simulating the exact problem what occurred. We are waiting for them to complete,” he said. PSLV C-39 had lifted off from Sriharikota on August 31 carrying an IRNSS satellite, but the mission flopped after the payload fairing (heat shield) failed to separate.


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