Former President and space scientist A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has proposed that India take up a manned space mission to the moon and Mars.

Addressing the first convocation ceremony of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) here on Thursday, he suggested that the country take up the development of hypersonic reusable vehicles for cost-effective space transportation and solar satellites to harness energy for power and drinking water.

He also proposed the development of solar sails for interplanetary missions and an integrated disaster management system using space technology.

Mr. Kalam, who is the Chancellor of the IIST, said India could come up with navigational satellites and a mechanism for refuelling, repair, and maintenance of satellites in geostationary orbit.

Vision plan

He told the gathering of students, parents, faculty of the IIST, and scientists from ISRO that the new programmes, if taken up under the ISRO vision 2030 plan, could open up new opportunities and challenges for the scientific community and the youth of India.

Mr. Kalam said fully reusable space transportation systems with high payload efficiencies were essential for space missions in future. Such systems, he added, depended on critical technologies such as in-flight air collection and oxygen liquefaction, ram/ scramjet engines, ascent turbojet/turbofan ramjet engines, and advanced lightweight high temperature materials.

Global demand

Highlighting the need to bring down the iron curtain between technological groups, Mr.Kalam said the global demand was shifting towards the development of ecologically sustainable systems integrating science, technology, and environment.

“The real challenge for the scientific community is to use technology to enrich the life of 750 million rural people.”

He said research in basic sciences was crucial if India was to remain competitive at the global level and develop cost-effective technologies for the common man.

Earlier, Mr. Kalam conferred the B.Tech. degree on 125 students of the first batch of the IIST who graduated in Aerospace Engineering, Avionics, and Physical Sciences.

He also released a book A Brief History of Rocketry in ISRO authored by P.V. Manoranjan Rao and P.Radhakrishnan. Former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission Srikumar Banerjee was the chief guest at the convocation ceremony.

ISRO chairman K.Radhakrishnan, who is also the chairman of the board of management, IIST, Director of the institute K.S. Dasgupta, and former director B.N.Suresh addressed the gathering.