A planned United Nations global satellite to be used for managing natural disasters and earth observation is to be named after the late Indian President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, widely considered the “father” of India’s own domestic satellite programme.
The ‘GlobalSat for DRR’ (Disaster Risk Reduction) is a UN-backed global initiative bringing together space technologies from Canada, Europe, the United States and Asia and is aimed at sharing those technologies to predict and manage natural disasters.
Milind Pimprikar, chairman of the Montreal-based project, said that the goals of the programmed mirrored those of Dr Kalam who had envisioned nations with space technologies coming together to find solutions to mankind’s problems.
“Therefore we now plan to dedicate the UN GlobalSat initiative as a tribute to Late Dr. Abdul Kalam by renaming it “UN Kalam GlobalSat”, Mr Pimprikar said.
He added that naming the satellite in Dr Kalam’s honour would help inspire a new generation of scientists, engineers and space explorers, particularly in the developing world.
Mr Kalam passed away last week aged 83.
A former newspaper boy from south India, Mr Kalam became a national hero after he led his country’s nuclear missile programme; in 2002 he was overwhelmingly elected India’s 12th president, becoming the third Muslim to hold the post.
Kalam rose to fame in May 1998, when he oversaw five nuclear tests in the Pokhran desert which proved beyond doubt India’s nuclear capabilities.
The UN Kalam GlobalSat is expected to be launched in 2016.