CSIR-NIIST, VSSC tie-up to scale up research on materials for space programme

Trivandrum / March 20, 2024

Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 20: CSIR - National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (CSIR-NIIST) has entered into a collaborative Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) to scale up research and delivery of strategically advanced materials for India’s space programme.

NIIST Director Dr C Anandharamakrishnan and VSSC Director Dr S Unnikrishnan Nair exchanged the umbrella MoU in this regard recently.

The agreement facilitates VSSC and CSIR-NIIST identify the broad areas of collaboration, leading to delivery of advanced materials like engineered alloys, coatings and functional materials, which have critical applications in space programme.

CSIR-NIIST, a premier interdisciplinary research laboratory under the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), Government of India, has a long record of pioneering work in research and development (R&D) in the area, which would benefit VSSC, the lead centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), based in the Kerala capital.

ISRO believes that manufacturing very high-end materials, electronics, and composites is necessary for India to become completely self-reliant in space research and technology. 

"We have been concentrating on doing it within India all the time. For example, the materials we use for our rockets and satellites are reasonably high percentage indigenous," says ISRO Chairman Dr S Somanath.

"But we are still lacking in high-grade composite and electronics manufacturing. We have to focus on it. If you have to really become a world leader, these areas are very critical. This is the only way to create a real revolution in this domain," Dr Somanath added.

On completion of Chandrayan and Aditya - L1 mission programs, ISRO hopes to develop strategically important advanced materials and indigenous technologies for a self-reliant India in its forthcoming space projects.

Dr Anandharamakrishnan said the MoU assured strategic materials for ISRO programs, which are a high priority to NIIST and would deliver engineered components meeting ISRO specifications.

"The areas probably covered are near net shaping and advanced manufacturing, smart coating, H2 gas storage and materials for electronic and magnetic applications," Dr Anandharamakrishnan said. 

"NIIST has generated state-of-the-art facilities like pilot-scale squeeze casting plants and laser surface machining for undertaking high-quality research and product development. VSSC already supports NIIST for developing cutting-edge technologies like electronic substrates, iridium coatings, carbon fibre composites, and H2 storage vessels."

The collaboration between the two premiere institutions is expected to give greater impetus to India's highly successful space mission, aiming for many more this year after last year's historic achievements.


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