New Delhi: A team of four Bhutanese space engineers are travelling to India on Monday in order to undergo the first phase of training as part of a program to jointly develop a small satellite for the Himalayan State opening a new chapter in partnership.
The engineers will be trained at the UR Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Bengaluru, India from 28 December to 25 February 2021. Phase-I of the training will involve various theoretical and technical aspects as well as visits to laboratories and test facilities. Subsequently, the Bhutanese team will work with ISRO to formulate the second phase of training, which will involve activities towards developing the small satellite for Bhutan, INS-2B, officials informed.
During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bhutan in August 2019, the Prime Minsters of India and Bhutan agreed to collaborate on the joint development of a small satellite for Bhutan.
Modi and Prime Minister of Bhutan Dr. Lotay Tshering had jointly inaugurated the Ground Earth Station of the South Asia Satellite (SAS) in Thimphu, which was constructed with the support of ISRO. The SAS was launched by India in 2017 as a gift to the countries in the South Asia region, including Bhutan. Recognizing the positive impact that the SAS would have on the socio-economic development of Bhutan in areas such as communication and disaster management, the PM had offered increased bandwidth on an additional transponder as per Bhutan’s requirements, as a gift to the people of Bhutan.
A Joint Working Group (JWG) was formed to implement the project and other related activities, including developing a geo-portal system for Bhutan for natural resources and disaster management, using remote sensing and geo-spatial data. This project is in line with the vision of The King of Bhutan to harness space technology and its applications for the benefit of the country and
In a recent virtual meeting between the two Prime Ministers on November 20, Prime Minister Modi had announced that the small satellite for Bhutan will be launched in 2021 and that the Indian side will extend capacity building to Bhutanese engineers for this purpose.