Anglo-Indian collaboration creates galaxy of opportunity for business and industry

Posted by pt91 at Jan 30, 2012 03:55 PM |
Astrosat-India’s first national astronomy satellite-enhances Leicester’s capacity for space industry links

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 30 January 2012 Images available from pt91@le.ac.uk

A link between the University of Leicester and the Indian Space Agency has provided a boost for technology innovations in the region – as well as for local companies.

This project has also allowed the University of Leicester to create strong links with businesses both internationally and locally, which has brought commercial benefits to the region.

These companies range from specialist manufacturing companies to Pinnacle International Freight, a local company in Narborough who have handled all the shipping.

India’s first national astronomy satellite, Astrosat, is due to be launched in 2012. The five instruments in Astrosat’s payload will observe exotic objects and phenomena such as black holes, neutron stars, and active galaxies at a number of different wavelengths simultaneously, from the ultraviolet band to energetic x-rays. Each of its five instruments is looking at different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum which allows simultaneous measurements to be taken across a wide range of energies.

The Indian Space Research Organisation approached the University of Leicester Space Research Centre to undertake the Soft X-ray Telescope (SXT) camera development. Due to   Leicester’s acclaimed track record in specialised X-ray camera design with successful missions such as SWIFT and XMM-Newton, the University was able to provide the expertise and support to build the CCD camera for the SXT on Astrosat.

The testing of the CCD camera for the Soft X-ray Telescope on Astrosat has allowed the University to collaborate with a variety of businesses and organisations -Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Didcot who carried out the vibration testing, leading global provider of technology solutions for high performance systems-E2V, who undertook the critical device testing, the University of Birmingham who carried out the thermal vacuum testing, Semelab in Lutterworth who undertook electronic component testing and Megatech in Cannock, who took on the refurbishment of the critical testing equipment.

UKIERI (UK-India Education Research Initiative) supported travel and accommodation needs throughout the entire project. The University of Leicester team flew to India this week (26 Jan) for the next phase of the project.

City Councillor Ted Cassidy, said: “The University of Leicester has a long tradition of excellence in space research and we can see this through Astrosat. This project is an excellent illustration of what is possible and I would like to congratulate the University of Leicester, the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research and the Indian Space Research Organisation”.

Uday K Dholakia, Chairman of Indo British Trade Relations said he was  proud of the University of Leicester for being ahead of the game, collaborating with BRIC countries such as India and creating successful links and relationships for the future.

Professor K.P Singh, Principal Investigator for the SXT from Mumbai, said: “It is a great honour for me and my team to work with the University of Leicester on this mission. They provided us with knowledge and expertise and we have learnt a lot from our friends here. We hope that this collaboration will flourish and lead to future ventures”.

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