Interview With ISRO Chairman - AS Kiran Kumar


Mr. Kiran Kumar AS
Chairman, Indian Space Research Organization

"Experience is up to the individual see what happens is you always have opportunity to look at things and to observe things. Then from which you get derived inspiration is with you"


Ms. Kokila, Intern at Indian Space Station, had an opportunity to meet  ISRO chairman recently. Our entire ISS team is highly grateful for this opportunity provided by Mr. Kiran Kumar. We appreciate his commitment to encourage and inspire the future generation work on challenging and interesting problems of our time. The entire interview has been divided into two portions considering the depth of this interview.  Hope, this interview will be of useful to many.

Ms. Kokila with Mr. Kiran Kumar

Q1. lease share us with one important person each from your personal and  professional life who influenced your life.


From professional life though I myself have not come in direct contact with persons. One of the person who have influenced my work in this organization is Dr. Vikram Sarabai. By the time I joined this organization (I joined in 1975) Vikaram sarabai was no more. But during my course of interaction with various people the way he has influenced the organization, thoughts, work culture, has been really impacted my own thinking process and my own working. In my personal life Dr. H. Narasimahaiah who was the principal in National college, when I did my physics(hons) there. At that time I had an opportunity to live with him in the same hostel. He is a person  who worked in terms of simplicity and his approach to science and education was great.



 H.Narasimhaiah (Vice Chancellor of Bangalore University)
pic courtesy:(

 Q2. Could you please share one or two memories from your student life that  shaped your life?
Space is always been a fascinating thing in the beginning. Probably one of the things which really impacted me is, during my school time one of the person showed me 3-D View master where we put two slide and we can see the objects in three dimension.

 "When I misunderstood that was kaleidoscope he explained me 3-D view master"

   Kaleidoscope is an another one where you have a set of mirror, and then you put objects and then you get multiple reflections.

3-D View Master

This view master is basically kind of stereo projection, see what happens is, in that you have a small gadgets and two locations where you can put slides and then if you view through them you get   3-Dimensional information which our mind actually reconstruct. when you see the objects in 3-D there are two three ways of getting it. One is by providing one image to your right eye and another image to left eye. So these two images corresponds to different views of same objects from two different angle. Suppose take an object , then you take a picture in one angle and also take in some another angle. Now  if you project   these two picture to your eye( one for each eye ),there you get 3-Dimensional perspective. So when I saw that it was really fascinating then how it can be done was always in my mind.

3-D Image Formation

And during my post graduation I did a work called picture processing. See that time in the institute one of the innovative, novel ways of doing film scanning by making use of lathe(probably now a days it was discarded)was used. One drum was put on that which rotates  to scan and  inside you have light source while outside you have a detector. So that time, it was first  such scanner was built in the institute and I had the privilege of the working with the people who are doing some image enhancement work for x-ray films there we had interactions with doctorates etc., From there my interest in imaging grew and later I started building and working on camera systems. I worked on the very first imaging system that was flown Bhaskara. Later we had three dimensional imaging stereo imaging system in  Cartosat-1.


Bhaskara Satellite With First Imaging     System





Q3. Could you please tell us something about GSAT-6 which will be utilized  for Strategic applications?

You might be familiar in electromagnetic radiation, If your antenna size is  larger and larger then your ability to create smaller and smaller spot size become better. When you are focusing the energy in smaller area then the flux density increases.When you want to do communication with the satellite with hand held device if a hand held device want to transmit a very huge amount of energy its power requirement everything goes up so now if you are able to transact with your hand held device at smaller and smaller power then you can get good communication while you are in the move.

By building the antennas of larger and larger diameter you are reducing the signal transmission requirements of the transmitter and also the receiver. Because of more flux density (since larger diameter antenna) is there it can work at lower signal and also devices with low sensitivity.

So one of the requirements for as the satellites capacity grow is , if you can build antenna with larger and larger diameter then you can reduce the requirements of the receiver and transmitter. Most of our satellites antenna are between 1.2 to 2 meter diameter, now this is six meter so almost 9 times it will be able to perform well than others.


Satellite Beam Formation

GSAT-6 aims to enable the communication with lesser and lesser receive power and also less transmit power from the ground.


It has got also some kind of beam formations, zones, Primarily it is interested in doing transactions in remote places because suppose the  person have to carry heavy equipment  to that place before but now they can carry some small device.

Q4. What are all the conceivable open doors accessible for school  students  and undergraduates to work with ISRO?
One of the thing always required is, while organization like ours, we bring systems we are trying to bring in more and more space applications for the societal use. There is a large amount of ground observations and also making more and more people aware, see for example in panchayat raj (Gram panchayat) people wanted to do planning. How will they do planning? with what kind of information they have  and how they can be lead to these kind of societal activity?

For this purpose we have done a program which is still going on  called Spatial Information System(SIS) for decentralized planning. You can also contribute to this(He pointed me and told). What can be done  is, we have Bhuvan panchayat in this portal if you see, lot of opportunity is there in using that tool, to make the people in the surroundings aware of what are features available, what are shortcomings are there, what kind of drainage pattern, water body type, what is needed??? If local people start thinking then making use of this information they can come up with their own plan of action which can go from Gram panchayat to Village, Block level, District level. For all this planning there is a provision there is a enabling feature built in .So now we are trying to look at how we can propagate this information entire panchayat.

So this is  one of the thing which is useful. Institution running Remote sensing or GIS type of course, if they start understanding what is this and they start using that in their own  activity and also making it know to people near by villages,by going to the village showing them these are the things that are available in their area and telling If they want to plan how you can plan. Even another thing is asset mapping, asset mapping means in that village what are all the things that are there ,features like ponds, bore wells, school, hospital. All these information goes in to it as  crowd sourcing and sits some where in the database.

These database is accessed by the entire department like civil department and they can help in planning which is one of the activities we are now going to come out very soon with a mechanism where one set of institution one in each district for example, they will be trained for  how this can be done (working of bhuvan panchayat) they in turn will have to train some more people. Finally each other sub points of the districts should be able to make use of these tool and then add assets.


Planning like
If you want to make sure that there is always one school with in 2 km walking distance of any village or any district. How can it be done ???you can only do it if you know all the information and then you can do analysis out of it. Similar to this Hospital planning.

India has more than 4000 heritage site in each of the heritage site you required some basic rules should be followed, like with in that certain diameter you should not have construction. This can be done based on some satellite data. But then if there is student community who goes to that place actually physically do the surveying using the mobile(for GPS) you can walk around and mark the demarcation. which is upload to the site .You can also have various layers of the information(Thematic layers of information etc) using all such information it can help archeological  center in near by zone of that region.

Mapping Important Places In GIS    
Pic courtesy:Geospatialtimes

Then you can also create some local assets there that means what are the buildings that are there, this becomes the permanent record.

For a student it works as a project, where they have a physical activity ,which is also training them how they can make use of GIS, and this can of tools. Convert it in the database and this database is useful for planning things.

Now a days large amount of ground work  that is required to be done. We need people who can do such things, WHO BETTER THAN A STUDENT COMMUNITY, who take interest in their surroundings.

If you want to create new type of flora fauna database , you take a picture of that your GPS get the coordinates then you send that one mail. So then it gets located in that by this some species get recognized. If you gone for a picnic to some forest, and you saw some interesting plants so you can take a picture of that and you can post it to the site, this become an input for the researchers so they will learn how these things can be keep growing.

Satellite image for Mapping Flora and Fauna 


**********End of Part- 1**********


Ms. Kokila
Intern, Indian Space Station

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