Young Indians need not venture abroad for jobs in the space domain, as state-run Indian Space Research Organsation (ISRO) offers great career opportunities in the new science frontier, an American expert said here on Friday.
“Indian students can make a career in space and astronomy by getting into their space agency ISRO rather than looking elsewhere outside India, as it is doing exciting things in space,” said Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (JPL) spacecraft system engineering manager Ann Devereaux at an event held to mark the ‘Word Space Week’ of the UN General Assembly.
The UN observes the space week every year from October 4 to 10, coinciding with the launch of the first man-made earth satellite — Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957 — and the signing of the Outer Space Treaty on October 10, 1967.
JPL is a research facility which is part of the US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA), housed in California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and carrying out robotic space and earth science missions.
Federally funded JPL has 19 spacecraft and 10 major instruments executing planetary, earth science and space-based astronomy missions.
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“I would rather encourage you to think of working at ISRO,” Ann told high school students in a motivational talk she gave at the state-run Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum in this tech hub.
As NASA is working with ISRO on a number of space projects, Ann said global space organisations like ISRO requires smart people to collaborate in inter-planetary exploration and space programmes with other space agencies for the benefit of the people at large.
There is no dearth of talent in India, as is evident with Team Indus, a home-grown space firm in Bengaluru, which worked hard to launch the country’s maiden private satellite to the moon onboard ISRO’s rocket through sponsorship and crowd funding.
“Team Indus in Bengaluru is competing for the Google Lunar X prize. The members are smart and went to Indian universities and want to put a commercial rover on the lunar surface,” Ann pointed out.
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The Google Lunar X Prize was launched by the global search engine to propel affordable access to the moon and for providing a platform to space entrepreneurs for developing business models on lunar transportation, carrying prize money in millions of dollars.
Ann is also the principal engineer for the Mars 2020 lead flight segment.
Visiting India as part of the US state department’s speakers’ programme, Ann has already visited Kolkata, Ahmedabad and New Delhi before visiting Bengaluru to talk about space exploration and other opportunities with teachers, students and startups.
Ann also addressed the students of the privately-run M.S. Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences’ aeronautical engineering branch on the “Journey to the Moon and what happens then.”
On the campus of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in the city’s western suburb, Ann also met aerospace engineering research scholars and students.
She also participated in a discussion with science teachers and master trainers at the Agastya Science Centre on “Educating for the next frontier: Compelling STEM experiences that inspire tomorrow’s explorers.”
Ann has worked on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover project before becoming the lead systems engineer for the flight system and fault protection and deputy lead for the entry, descent and landing team.
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