“If you shed tears when you miss the Sun, you also miss the stars.”

Tapan Misra

The title of this piece is a quote from Rabindranath Tagore

Can you relive the days gone by long before? Yes. We can. I get a feeling that I am back to my days of starry eyed youth when I joined ISRO, without an iota of idea of what was in store for my career. We only knew that we were doing something which we never imagined in our colleges.

After my days in ISRO came to a logical end, everybody expected me to spend good part of my second innings as playing the role of an umpire i.e., by opting for some influential academic or institutional sinecure positions or just by hanging around the corridors of powers that be and playing occasional backroom chicanery. I decided to return to the crease with gloves on.

In SISIR RADAR we are reinventing radar and allied technologies with emphasis on cost conscious innovations. I learnt from my days of ISRO, from the success and failure of its programmes. We built fantastic remote sensing instruments. Because space based observations provide an opportunity of bird’s eye view of mother earth, our applications were also targeted for synoptic view required for Government processes for seasonal forecast, aggregate assessment of crop production, implementation of MGNREGA, environmental degradations, overall damage and compensation assessment following natural disasters and myriad others. I must admit that the applications spearheaded by ISRO, not only influenced economic trajectory of India but touched daily lives of her denizens.

Testing of Hyperspectral camera in real environment to test our robust classification algorithms.

Realisations dawned on me that while assessing the forest, we missed counting of the trees. Industry, mining, agriculture and social institutions are crying for many immediate application options. Some of them are: broadbading of agriculture insurance, continuous assessment of impending disasters in mining industry, mapping of underground layout of city plans, tactical observations of sensitive objects in hostile weather and natural environments. Radar technology appears to be probably the best suited for their solutions. But the technology needs innovations, performance enhancements and packaging, customised to specific needs and price sensitivity, specific to Indian markets. In essence, innovations in continuum – the guiding motivations behind technology choices in our radar programmes, being broad based for observations from “Swarga, Martya, Patal” (Space, Earth and Underground) in near and distant future. We have many dreams and we have confidence in the dedicated bright minds among us to realise those dreams.

Today is dedicated as National Technology Day. SISIR RADAR dedicates itself to bringing radar technology to those who need it the most and to bringing right solutions to their specific problems.

The author, Tapan Misra, is founder of SISIR Radar. He is a distinguished scientist. He was Director Space Applications Centre and is recognised globally as father of Indian SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radars)


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