Saturday, July 05, 2008
The concept of a “nursery” for ISRO took firm footing in 2006, when ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair took it on as a pet project. Inaugurated on September 14, 2007, the IIST is envisioned as a centre of excellence in advanced space science and technology, offering undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral programmes.It now has B Tech programmes with specialisation in avionics and aerospace engineering, and integrated Masters in applied science. The first academic year came to a close on June 28. by September, 2009, the ISRO plans to shift the facility from its temporary home at the VSSC, Thumba, to a permanent campus next to the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), Valiyamala — Thiruvananthapuram.In the years ahead, the institute hopes to forge strategic ties with like-minded agencies across the globe for exchange programmes. Already, ISRO officials have toured some of the best the US and Europe have to offer — the California University of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, and the International Space University, Strasbourg, France.The IIST has attracted a young and talented 26 academics. C.S. Narayanamurthy, who has a Ph.D. from IIT Madras, was teaching in the Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, before he joined the institute. He is now the Head of the Department of Physics. Raju K. George is the Head of the Department of Mathematics. P.S. Robi, who heads the Department of Aerospace Engineering, earlier taught at IIT Guwahati.The institute does not charge tuition or other fees and hostel accommodation is totally free of cost. Besides, the students are given Rs.3,000 every semester as book allowance. Students completing the course with a first class will be absorbed into ISRO. They will be asked to sign a bond that they will work for ISRO for five years. If they jump the bond, they will have to pay Rs.10 lakh to the Department of Space.