Par panel pulls up Space Dept for key mission delay

New Delhi: A Parliamentary panel has pulled up the Department of Space for delays in its headline missions of human spaceflight and sending satellites to moon and Mars.

The panel criticised the Department of Space (DoS), which comes directly under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, for "casually fixing schedules" for important programmes like the Manned Mission Initiative scheduled to take an Indian astronaut to outer space in 2014.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, chaired by Congress leader T Subbarami Reddy, noted with concern that a programme initiated in 2006 and having target date of 2014, is yet to get a final approval even for its Phase-I programme.

It said the department was either not serious in timely completion of the project or had casually fixed a schedule for completion of the mission.

"It also reflects a lack of proper planning and effective monitoring, as also absence of adequate research and technological support for timely execution of the project," the Committee said.

The panel hoped that the pre-project activities would be expeditiously completed and approval for Phase-I of the programme obtained, so that the project is completed as per schedule in 2014. .

On the Mars Orbiter mission and constant rescheduling of the Chandrayaan-II mission, the committee stressed on the will and dedication to complete the mission target within the time schedule.

If a time schedule does not inspire the confidence of the team and is seen by it as an unrealistic target, it will hardly serve any purpose, the panel said and asked the DoS to fix time schedules in a more realistic way, rather drawing up timelines that were not adhered to.

The committee felt that failure to adhere to programme schedule sent a wrong message to the public and lowered their confidence in taking the capability to take the space programme to new heights.

"The schedule for all missions, including complex missions, should be prepared only after taking into account all ground realities, so that a realistic schedule meant to be adhered by all, rather than that being violated with impunity, is prepared," the committee said.