Former ISRO Chairman awarded France's highest civilian honour; ISRO to launch 'RISAT 2BR1' – Current Affairs

The award recognises A S Kiran Kumar's invaluable contribution to the development of India-France space cooperation.

May 3, 2019 11:24 IST
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Story 1-Former ISRO Chairman awarded France's Highest Civilian Honour

Former ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar was on May 2, 2019 conferred with France's highest civilian honour, Chevalier de l'Ordre national de la Legion d'Honneur, for his contribution to India-France space cooperation.

Kumar was conferred with the prestigious honour by France’s Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler on behalf of the French President.


The award aims to recognise A S Kiran Kumar's invaluable contribution to the development of India-France space cooperation.


During his whole career span at the Indian space agency, including when he was the Chairman, Kumar worked to foster ambitious space cooperation between India and France.

He directly contributed to making it cooperation of the people as well as one of the cornerstones of Indo-French strategic partnership.

About AS Kiran Kumar

A S Kiran Kumar served as the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation from 2015 to 2018. He was succeeded by K Sivan, the former Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Center and Liquid Propulsion centre.

His space science career began when he joined the Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad and began working on spaceborne Electro-optical imaging instruments.

He has represented the Indian Space Research Organisation at many international forums such as the World Meteorological Organisation and Indo-US Joint Working Group on Civil Space Cooperation.

He currently holds the Chair of the ISRO Committee on Earth Observation Satellites.

He is known to have made significant contributions to the Indian space programmes, starting from earlier projects like Bhaskara TV payload till the later programmes such as Chandrayaan-1 and Mangalyaan.

Kumar is credited with the design and development of the electro-optical image sensors used in India's first remote sensing satellite, Bhaskara, which was launched in 1979 and the subsequent one in 1981, as well as the ocean colour instruments used in weather forecasting, sea zone and landscape mapping and telecommunications.

He is also reported to have contributed to the design and development of the imaging instruments for projects such as INSAT–3D, Resourcesat, Micro Satellite and Cartosat.

The Terrain Mapping Camera and Hyperspectral Imager payloads of Chandrayaan-1 project is also credited to the efforts of Kiran Kumar.

Key Awards

Kumar has received many awards and honors recognising his contribution to the enhancement of space programmes starting with the Indian Society of Remote Sensing Award in 1994.

In 1998, he received the Vasvik award, followed by the Astronautical Society of India Award in 2001.

The Indian Space Research Organization honoured Kumar with the Individual Service award in 2006 and the Bhaskara Award of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing in 2007.

In 2014, he was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award, for his contributions to the fields of science and technology.

In 2017 he was awarded the Vijnan Ratna H K Firodia award for his direction of the Indian space programme in such areas as earth observations, communication, navigation and developed indigenous launch vehicles.

He has also been conferred with the fellowship by the National Academy of Engineers and is a corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics.

About Chevalier de l'Ordre national de la Legion d'Honneur

The National Order of the Legion of Honour is the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits, established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte and retained by all later French governments and regimes.

It is the highest civilian award conferred by France for outstanding service to the nation, regardless of the nationality of the recipient.

The President of the French Republic is the Grand Master of the Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur

The order is divided into five degrees of increasing distinction: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer) and Grand-Croix (Grand Cross).

Story 2- ISRO to launch radar imaging satellite ‘RISAT 2BR1

India is planning to launch its latest radar imaging satellite RISAT 2BR1 towards the end of May 2019 on one of the variants of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket.

The satellite, RISAT 2BR1, is expected to be launched aboard one of the reusable PSLV rockets on May 22, as per officials of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Key Highlights

The rocket that would carry the radar imaging satellite is designated as PSLV-C46 as per ISRO's numbering system.

It would take off from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

Following the launch of RISAT 2BR1, ISRO will send up a cartography satellite Cartosat-3.

India is also planning to launch two more defence satellites in either July or August with its new rocket, Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV).


The RISAT, which was first deployed in orbit on April 20, 2009 as the RISAT-2, uses synthetic aperture radars (SAR) to provide Indian forces with all-weather surveillance and observation, which are crucial to notice any potential threat or malicious activity around the nation's borders.

Following the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, the launch of RISAT-2 was prioritised over RISAT- 1, as its C-band SAR radar was not yet ready and RISAT -2 carried an Israeli-built X-band radar.

The to-be-deployed RISAT-2BR1 satellite uses the same SAR band and will further improve India's imaging reconnaissance abilities.

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