The deserted Chandrapur Thermal Power Station (CTPS) in the outskirts of Guwahati will turn into a Space Research Centre of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) under Network for Space Object Tracking and Analysis (NETRA)
A senior government official said that ISRO requires an area of 100 acres of land for setting up the centre. The Assam government has already located seven sites for it, including a plot in Amingaon and finally, the government went with CTPS for NETRA, the official said.
He further stated that the key elements of this control centre would be radar and an optical telescope facility adding that ISRO will take up the final call on whether the plot will be suitable for space and scientific infrastructure.
Assam minister Keshab Mahanta also visited the site on February 28 and discussed the matter with senior officials of Assam State Space Application Centre (ASSAC). The minister was accompanied by PLN Raju, director of ASSAC and senior scientist, RK Das of North Eastern Space Application Centre (NESAC).
Notably, NETRA is a ‘control centre’ for Space Situational Awareness (SSA) to monitor, track and protect India’s space assets, including satellites and hazards.
The ISRO decided to set up NETRA in Guwahati in October 2017 to explore the possibility of using geospatial technology, which includes data generated through Global Positioning System (GPS), Geographical Information System (GIS) and Satellite Remote Sensing (SRS) to expedite the development of Assam and use the remote sensing technology for the accurate flood warning system, prevention of soil erosion and landslides.
As a ‘Directorate of Space Situational Awareness and Management (DSSAM), it will protect high valued space assets from space debris close approaches and collisions, and help coordinate between Indian agencies, their foreign counterparts and international bodies.