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July launch for ISRO skylab

An Indian laboratory will go up in space for trials that could bring us a new class of drugs, writes BR Srikanth.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2006 02:40 IST

An Indian laboratory will go up in space in June-July for trials that could bring us a new class of alloys and drugs.

A 525-kg capsule built on a shoestring budget of Rs 50 crore will use the micro-gravity conditions of space to make long-lasting and lightweight alloys.

Another set of tests will focus on rolling out new material for spacecraft, aircraft and drugs as well. Monitoring the studies would be the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the National Metallurgical Laboratory (Jamshedpur) and the Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore). “The next mission, perhaps after two years, will look at life sciences. Say how cells function and multiply in micro-gravity,” said ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair.

The capsule will be injected into space by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. Called the Space Recovery Experiment (SRE), it will generate data to design a container for a future manned trip to space.

It is intended to demonstrate the capability to recover an orbiting space capsule. It would also test systems like the reusable thermal protection, navigation, guidance and control, hypersonic aero-thermodynamics, management of communication blackout, deceleration and floatation system and recovery operations.

The SRE is a sphere-cone-flare configuration with a spherical nose of about half-a-metre radius, base diameter of two metre and a height of 1.6 metre.

First Published: Feb 19, 2006 01:56 IST