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Modi for expediting SRE-2 mission launch

In 2005, Department of Space (DoS) got an approval to take up the SRE project to demonstrate key technologies for re-entry and recovery of the space capsules as well as to provide a platform for micro gravity experiments.

The planned duration of the project was 18 months (August 2008) from the date of approval in 2005. The main objective of the mission was to carry out micro gravity experiments in the area of material and life science. But knowing the fact that the project was abnormally delayed, PM intervened and asked everyone to be focus in meeting datelines in execution research related works in DoS, DRDO, and other technical units.

Sources said, “It was supposed to be launched by Vikram Sarabhai Space  Centre (VSSC) but due to technical reasons in the development of thermal protection system for the capsule, VSSC proposed to procure the items from abroad. In 2010, the project was revised to Rs 42 Crore and the launch schedule was extended to mid 2011.”

It was learnt that till March 2013 more than Rs 50 crore was incurred on the project and an additional amount of Rs 12 crore (approx) was further required to meet the expenditure. “Due to the complacent attitude of the DoS, despite the availability of launch vehicle in 2011, people associated with SRE-2 mission overlooked non-availability of carbon-carbon nose cap. This due to laid back attitude the mission was deferred to June 2014,” he said.

The delay in the execution of the mission led to avoidable expenditure due to expiry of consumables including parachutes and floats. In 2008, VSSC has signed a MoU with the Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE) in Agra towards supply of parachutes and floats for the mission at a cost of Rs 60 lakhs (approx).

However, due to delay in the project, the shelf life of the floats and parachutes expired in October 2012 and November 2013 respectively.
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