Pradeep's Space Newsletter #28

How much information is too much information?

ISRO replied to several RTI queries by @frustratedpluto with a standard template: “The information sought is exempted from disclosure under Section-8(1)(a) of RTI Act as it would prejudicially affect the scientific, technical and strategic interest of the state/country.”

ISRO is a civilian space agency. It is funded by tax payer money. It is responsible to not only deliver technical results, it is also responsible to develop scientific temper and scientific curiosity of it’s citizens.

One of the simplest ways of doing this is to update the people about the progress of it’s various projects. Space agencies like NASA and ESA have funds allocated for it’s scientists working on these projects to also engage with members of the public in an outreach budget. ISRO only has a very poor Public Relations department.

During the ISRO Spy Case days in the early 1990s, it was often said that ISRO was a civilian space agency and that it did not have any secrets. A cursory search of ISRO publications from an era before 2003 will give you all the technical details of most early ISRO projects of the kind asked for in the RTI reply.

An underdog’s success story in an environment of denial of technology made ISRO the darling of the people. Hence, early failures with the GSLV drew sharp criticism from the public. Expectations grew. ISRO could not keep up with them. It went into a cocoon.

ISRO has always had leaders who accepted responsibility for failures. This has inspired Project Directors and others to work twice as hard to return to the launch pad with better results.

ISRO returned to the launch pad with a successful string of GSLV launches.

I believe that most of ISRO’s present predicament arises from setting unrealistic expectations.

When ISRO does not share information on it’s website but shares it at various events, all of which are not on public record, space enthusiasts like @frustratedpluto scour the internet for pictures, videos, presentations, papers and talks to get this information and share it with other space enthusiasts.

When such public information is not provided even on such fora, RTI remains the only tool to obtain this information from ISRO.

@frustratedpluto faced a lot of flak for this post which is documented on Twitter replies and Quote tweets. The effort from ISRO seems to have been to hide the slow progress and poor performance of ISRO under the garb of national security. The effort of some tweeps seems to have been to silence through intimidation.

But, underlining it all is the continued failure of ISRO to communicate it’s progress. This flows over into poor reporting by the media that does not puts things into perspective.

Pradeep's Space Newsletter #27

Space Conference and Exhibition, Lunar Science Workshop and India Science Fest

CII hosts International Space Conference and Exhibition

ISRO conducts a two day Lunar Science Workshop

Skyroot Aerospace signs framework MoU with Department of Space

Times of India interview with Pawan Goenka, Chairman-designate to the Indian space regulator, IN-SPACe

Arianespace launches 34 satellites for OneWeb successfully

India Science Fest

Twitter avatar for @IndSciFestIndia Science Fest @IndSciFest
Head over to our #website and send in your submissions by 31st October! A sprinkle of #creativity, a dash of #innovation, Show us the best of your #imagination! Register now! #scifibooks #scifiwriting #sciencefiction #Writers #poets #Sciencetwitter

India Science Fest @IndSciFest

Have you started spinning your #scifi #story/#poem yet? Because we'll surely spin your head with our amazing panel of judges for @IndSciFest's #sciencefiction #writing #competition! @AratiKadav @nameshiv @shwetawrites & @maxgladstone are joining us & we couldn't be more excited!

Pradeep's Space Newsletter #26

MOM plays hide-n-seek, sometimes

Edgar Kaiser is an amateur ham radio operator (according to his Twitter profile) who has been monitoring radio signals from India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) and sharing them via Twitter.

He raised an alarm on June 21 when there was no signal received from MOM since June 2, 2021.

This led to a chain conversation about this topic among a few Indian tweeps (Twitter people). While these discussions were on, Times of India journalist Chethan Kumar shared an update from ISRO:

ISRO does not provide updates on the status of any spacecraft. Hence, we rely on amateur satellite watchers and radio frequency observers to get some of these updates. They perform yeoman’s service to space watchers like me in this regard.

This saga, though, ended with good news from Edgar himself. He shared a detection of signal once again from MOM signalling that it was well and alive.

Welcome back, indeed, MOM.

Space Reads

  • Listen to the NewSpace India podcast episode with Nitish from Astrogate Labs. It’s lovely to see Indian companies working in areas where ISRO doesn’t. Also, it’s lovely to meet someone who sees beauty in communications satellites where most are fascinated by beautiful pictures from Earth observation satellites.

  • I enjoyed reading a power-packed version of Jatan Mehta’s Moon Monday issue #32. His tweet summarizes it best:

Twitter avatar for @uncertainquarkJatan Mehta @uncertainquark
So glad to have @openlunar, @Epsilon3Inc, and @SWISSAPOLLO1 kindly support Moon Monday, my one-of-a-kind Moon exploration newsletter that's free, with no ads! 🌗 If you like my work too, support me to keep it going: 🚀

Jatan Mehta @uncertainquark

Last week in Moon exploration was 🔥 → China and Russia reveal Moonbase plans → NASA’s SLS rocket stacking up for launch → Japan passes space resources bill → @mastenspace teases a cool Moon water miner → @openlunar presents to @UNOOSA and more! 🚀

Pradeep's Space Newsletter #25

Space Reads

Pradeep's Space Newsletter #24

A bunch of articles

Space Reads

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