Admirers of the Indian Space Research Organisation would now be aware of the ISRO UNNATI (UNispace Nanosatellite Assembly & Training by ISRO) programme for foreign students. While the ambitious initiative by ISRO to encourage participating countries to strengthen their capabilities in assembling, integrating and testing nano-satellites has widely been widely appreciated, the only grouse Indian students had was about the fact that they could not participate in it.
However, interested students are largely unaware of the fact that the Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTEAP), which is affiliated to the United Nations, conducts various outreach programmes and short-term courses for Indian students as well.
In response to the UN General Assembly Resolution endorsing the recommendations of UNISPACE-82, the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) prepared a project document envisioning the establishment of Centres for Space Science and Technology Education in developing countries. In 1994, a UN team conducted an evaluation mission of six countries in the Asia-Pacific region and based on a report submitted by them, UNOOSA notified India as the host country for the establishment of CSSTEAP. CSSTEAP conducts various short courses on different themes of Remote Sensing and GIS, Small Satellite Missions and Navigation and Satellite Positioning System relevant for the benefit of common man and based on request of user departments at centers of ISRO namely Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), Space Applications Centre (SAC), U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) and also in Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), in which ISRO was Nucleated in the early seventies. Furthermore, two of the past Chairmen of ISRO – Professor UR Rao and Dr K Kasturirangan – are alumni of PRL.
Currently, interested students can start applying for a short course on ‘Space Weather’ being organized by CSSTEAP at PRL, which will describe the solar sources of space weather disturbances, and their effect on Near-Earth environment with possible disruptions to satellites, communication systems, and human life, and so on.
Who is Eligible to Apply for the ISRO UNNATI like Outreach Programme
Interested students need to possess a Master’s degree in Physics, Astronomy, Astro-Physics, Solar Physics or other equivalent qualification relevant to Space and Atmospheric Sciences; OR Bachelor’s degree in Engineering (BE/ BTech) in Electronics and allied fields such as environmental science or engineering. Candidates who possess a higher qualification such as PhD are also eligible to apply. Also, candidates who have teaching or research experience would be preferred. The course would be conducted in English, and participants who have done higher studies in other languages are required to submit a TOEFL score. The course would be conducted from 14 to 27 November 2019. Both Indian and foreign nationals can apply for the programme.
Stipend for the Participants
The brochure for the short course clearly mentions that CSSTEAP reserves the right to decide on the financial assistance matters. Interested candidates also need to note that preference in selection will be given to those candidates whose expenses are borne by the candidate or his/her organization or nominating agency. However, all other selected candidates will be given return airfare (for International candidates) or return 2nd AC train fare (for Indian candidates) and a Government of India (GOI) fellowship of Rs 8000 to cover living expenses.
How to Apply for the ISRO UNNATI like Outreach Programme?
The application for attached at either the end of the brochure, the CSSTEAP website or PRL website must be downloaded, filled, signed and endorsed by the applicant’s organization or recommending agency. The form must then be sent by post, fax or email to Professor J Banerji, Course Director, Space and Atmospheric Science, Room no 762, Physical Research Laboratory, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad 380009, India; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. International students need to send their application through the Governing Board member of the applicant’s country. Interested candidates are advised to go through the CSSTEAP website and course brochure in detail before applying for the short course. The last date for receiving the application is 30 August 2019.