Prime Minister Narendra Modi's assurance of continued support to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to lead the country 's space programme is not only encouraging the scientists of that institution, but a bigger ecosystem that supported the historic Chandrayaan-2 mission. At least two central government entities - Central Tool Room and Training Centre (CTTC), Bhubaneswar and Institute for Design of Electrical Measuring Instruments (IDEMI), Mumbai - both under the administrative control of the ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), will benefit from Modi's pep talk. Both the institutions had supported the Chandrayaan 2 Mission by way of supplying critical components and was betting high on the success of the mission.
Chandrayaan-2 Mission, the second lunar mission from ISRO, consists of Orbiter, Lander (named Vikram) and Rover (named Pragyan). While Orbiter has been successfully placed in the moon's orbit and continues to provide signals to ISRO, Lander and Rover failed to soft-land on Lunar surface, if is feared.
Irrespective of the partial set back' every stakeholder including CTTC and IDEMI, are eager to publicise their role in the mission. The ministry of MSME is also keen to utilize this opportunity to showcase the capabilities of these institutions.
The CTTC, Bhubaneswar developed and manufactured different types of flow control valves, sensors, regulators which control the movement of the liquid fuel from the fuel tank for combustion for the GSLV Mk III launch vehicle. The centre also manufactured six types of inertial and navigational assemblies along with flow control valves, sensors and regulators fitted in the Orbiter for navigating the Lunar Orbiter in the Earth's Orbit as well as in the Lunar Orbit. Some of the links and components of the wheel mechanism of Moon Lander for its soft landing on the Moon's surface also came from CTTC. The training, production, design and consultancy centre was established as part of a technical cooperation programme between Government of India and Government of Denmark in 1991. CTTC started Tool production in 1995.
Meanwhile, IDEMI, Mumbai, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, contributed to Chandrayaan-2 Mission by making vital components in CE20 (Cryogenic) engine used in the Launch Vehicle, GSLV Mk III Rocket, carrying Chandrayaan 2. It has developed C-axis Electrode Discharge Machining (EDM) process by designing special electrodes.
The two institutions are not the only ones with which ISRO has sourcing agreements. The agency has been always known for its partnership programmes and has in the past worked with about 500 MSMEs and transferred about 300 technologies to such entities. The ministry of Space states that there is a well-established supply chain system from the private sector industries across the country that produces and delivers a majority of the hardware and sub-systems for India's Space Programme. Also, the government has also taken steps to support start-ups who are willing to contribute to space technology through Department of Space. Towards this, Space Technology Incubation Centres (S-TIC) are getting established across the country where start-ups can take up Space Projects with the support of academia and ISRO guidance along with funding, on a limited basis, for the projects taken up.
The significance of the contributions of CTTC and IDEMI are thus more to with the special nature of Chandrayaan II as it is not just another space programme of ISRO, but a historic, though unsuccessful, attempt to soft-land on the moon's polar surface which remains an unexplored area so far.
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