Dec 27, 2008

India - 24 hour science channel

T.S. Subramanian

CHENNAI: A 24-hour television channel dedicated to science and technology and highlighting India’s scientific achievements will be on the air in two months.

W. Selvamurthy, Chief Controller, Research and Development, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), said the channel would be a product of public-private sector partnership. Many departments of the Government of India had committed themselves to providing a certain number of episodes. They included the DRDO, the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Space, the Department of Atomic Energy, and the Department of Biotechnology.

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Indian Institutes of Technology and premier engineering colleges would also contribute to the channel with their programmes. The DRDO had committed to giving 100 episodes.

“This is a good initiative because India’s achievements in various scientific endeavours will be propagated at the global level. The programmes will be in a simple language to enable even the lay man to understand them. The channel will disseminate information from the laboratory to the land,” said Dr. Selvamurthy, who heads the Life Sciences and Human Resource division in the DRDO.

Sashi Mehta of Signet Communications Private Limited had taken the initiative in forging the public-private sector partnership for the channel, he said. He described as “a milestone” the landing of Tejas, India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) in the rarefied heights of Leh, Ladakh, on December 13.

Dr. Selvamurthy said: “It successfully completed different trials in the cold environment in the high altitude of Leh. The trials are important for operating the LCA in cold weather close to the border. The objective of the flight trials is to expose the onboard systems to extreme low temperatures.”

Two Tejas prototypes were involved in the trials. The aircraft remained in cold weather overnight with temperatures plunging to minus 20 degrees Celsius and they were powered up the next day for operations.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) placed orders for 20 Tejas aircraft after their initial operation clearance, which was expected to be achieved in 2010. The LCA’s flight envelope, manoeuvrability, and safety would be tested first. If it passed these tests, the IAF would place orders for 20 more Tejas aircraft after their final operation clearance, the DRDO’s Chief Controller said.

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