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The Role of Space Exploration in Nation-Building
Dr. B.N. Suresh, Vikram Sarabhai distinguished professor, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)

India’s space program has withstood the test of time to blossom into one of the world’s most successful, top-tier space programs. Dr. B.N. Suresh spoke about how the ongoing investments in the cutting-edge space program give India a great technological advantage in nation-building.

“Space technology helps determine a lot of critical national issues, like the rate of depletion of natural resources and climatic change. Application-driven, well-structured space projects like communication networks, remote sensing, meteorology navigation, and disaster management can be better handled through space technology. Also, important national interest areas such as food and water supply, the environment, and ecosystems that affect society can be monitored,” Dr. Suresh said.

He went on to present a demonstration of electro-optical imaging systems, a “location and tracking tool” that can pinpoint areas in varying topographies across India from space. It enables macro-level monitoring of national assets and progress of programs. “Applying space technology produces visible impacts. For example, cropping intensity has gone up 30 percent and crop yield has increased 24 percent, resulting in a 30 percent increase in the household income of farmers. We are improving quality of life through space exploration,” he said.

“Space is expensive business, but space programs have the ability to solve many problems of society,” Dr. Suresh concluded.

Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) for the Indian Air Force and Indian Army by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)
Dr. Prasad Sampath, general manager, Rotary Wing Research and Design Centre, HAL

Key project requirements: The LCH has to work as an air defense vehicle against unmanned aerial vehicles and slowmoving vehicles. It should be able to destroy enemy air defense operations, provide escort service for heli-borne operations, carry out air offensives against urban warfare, support combat operations, support search and rescue operations, have antitank capabilities, stealth capabilities, survivability, crash worthiness, high maneuverability, and high reliability. It should be able to carry missiles. It should support and provide advanced technology, like an integrated dynamic system, anti-resonance vibration, glass cockpit, and data links to other vehicles.

Project management in LCH: The design process, which involved thousands of drawings, was done through sequencing. There was a master schedule and several subschedules to accommodate the interplay of paths in the design and development stages. There was a dedicated team who shared resources with other teams in the organization. Designing was done in 3-D that helped the team assemble parts more easily later. Upgrading of software tools has been a continuous process. Key infrastructure included a testing facility. Manufacturing of parts was outsourced. A part of the design process was outsourced to the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), Bombay and Kanpur. It involved a collaborative effort and concurrent engineering to save time and avoid duplication of work. An elaborate review mechanism was set up.

Iterations at the testing phase: Some features were modified or removed to minimize drag. Design of the armament carrier changed to reduce weight of the vehicle. Cockpit ergonomics changed after pilot reviews. New requirement of gun turret, instead of a fixed gun, accommodated.

Current status: The first flight of LCH conducted in March 2010. Flight trials are on.

Delhi Terminal 3
Mr. Sujit Kumar Nag, Vice President, Terminal3 (T3), Engineering & Projects, Delhi International Airport Ltd.

Key project requirements: The need for a larger, more efficient airport terminal and outlaying airport areas at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport to handle increasing domestic and international passenger traffic while providing state-of-the-art airport amenities and functions to travelers.

Design and development: The Public Private Partnership (PPP) endeavor was to be completed in phases. Phase IA: new runways and new taxiways by February 2009. Phase IB: modification of domestic terminal, new taxiways, new T3 terminal building, land works, and main aprons by March 2010. In staying in line with “construct as designed, commission as constructed,” it was imperative to organize the design management, (480 designers from L&T and 600 other contracted designers) and develop a contractor’s works package and a subcontractor’s works package. Additionally, to support the overall project the following were planned and developed on site: roads (22 km); offices (project, construction, and site offices); camps to accommodate 27,000 workers; a 10-bed hospital, sewage treatment plant; and laydown areas (laboratory, material laydown).

Project management in Delhi T3: Initiated project on the Operation Management Development Agreement (OMDA) for precise project and budget planning. Key targets, project schedule, contractor and subcontractor management, stakeholder management, construction management were all part of the OMDA process. Diligently adopted the building information modeling approach which allows: encapsulation of entire life cycle of project, definitive pre-construction planning, elimination of conflicts during construction, accurate fabrication and installation, and the ability to deliver ahead of schedule. Moreover, the planning and practice of proper construction safety and quality minimized any additional cost.

The outcome: Delhi’s IGI Airport T3, a two-level building with an energy conservation management system in effect, is the only airport in the world with an ISO 50,000 certification. Delhi T3 is also the largest public building constructed in India since Independence. The terminal can now handle over 34 million passengers annually.

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