Subject: Dream projects of Dr.Abdul Kalam

                  Now, Kalam targets space with Hyperplane 

                              Nanda Dabhole Kasabe   

PUNE, May 24: Senior scientists call it Defence Research and Development
Organisation (DRDO) chief and scientific advisor to the Union Defence
Minister A P J Abdul Kalam's dream project.  The "Single-Stage-to-Orbit
Launch Vehicle" or the "Hyperplane" -- as the new concept for flight to
orbit is called -- will soon become a reality. 

According to scientists who prefer to call this India's "big-time" 
project, the arrival of Hyperplane would not only give world space
technology a strategic choice, but also suggests the feasibility of
increasing the payload capacities and decreasing the unit payload cost. 
Until now, in the absence of a credible cost-effective design, almost all
nations of the world have chosen the existing path of rocket launchers,
while being fully aware of their performance limitations. 

A conceptual study has already been completed for this ambitious project. 
Scientists say foreign agencies have showed interest in the programme but
refuse to divulge details about the extent of their involvement in the
project which is expected to involve the use of composite material. 

The Hyperplane can be put into orbit at around 200 kms above the earth and
could fire missiles with smaller propulsion systems onto the target
without being intercepted by the enemy. This can be achieved because the
anti-ballistic role of the system cannot be perceived by the enemy target. 
A single Hyperplane can fire around five to ten continental missiles. 

More significantly, at a later stage, the vehicle is expected to be used
for converting solar energy into electricity, thus taking care of energy
needs in the future. This could be achieved if solar panels are fitted
onto the plane to convert solar energy into electricity, say scientists
but they add that India does not have the level of superconductivity
required to achieve this goal.

The Hyperplane is based on the concept of in-flight liquefaction of
oxygen, unfolding an altogether new principle in flight performance. The
highlight of the model, according to scientists, is that, it first
computes the liquid oxygen required for the rocket phase with zero air
collection and then literally computes the subsequent requirement after
hitting the target. 

In sharp contrast to a multistage vertical launch rocket system, the
flight path of a Single-Stage-To-Orbit Vehicle is typically a hybrid
between the aircraft path and that of a rocket. The flight corridor is so
designed to take advantage of the lift generating capabilities of an
aircraft, with the added benefit of a rocket path which exploits the
centrifugal forces, say scientists.

A patent for the proposed air-liquefaction concept and design has been
sought. At present, approximately 125 tonnes of liquid oxygen is used in
the final rocket phase and the entire quantity is assumed to be collected
from the atmosphere during the cruise phase. The cruise flight time is
about 1,400 seconds which means an average collection rate of
approximately 90 g per second. 

The Hyperplane will employ two aspects of air-breathing-- direct
air-breathing propulsion as well as air collection in flight. In addition,
pre-programmed altitude control has been proposed till the levelling off
phase of the flight to control altitude and velocity of the cruise phase. 

Senior scientists point out that the Hyperplane unit cost would be
one-thirtieth the cost of a rocket launcher. Significantly, two to five
Hyperplane flights are sufficient to break even with rocket launchers,
apart from assuring a fully reusable system, thus establishing the economy
of getting into such a venture. 

Both the United Kingdom and the US are reported to be working on aerospace
places called "Hotol", "X-30" or NASP. The basic conceptual difference
between these and the Hyperplane lie in the air breathing propulsion
technology and in-flight air collection. "Hotol" is rocket-propelled and
incorporates air collection to a limited extent, a scientist said, adding
that NASP takes air breathing engines but does not consider air collection
at all. 

The Hyperplane, however,incorporates both the air-breathing engines and
air-collection tech in design thus offering a choice before the world to
move to an era of high payload, low-cost capability in space.  

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam: Self-Made Bomb Maker


NEW DELHI, India -- Among the Indian scientists who successfully detonated
five nuclear tests in the northwestern desert last week, none seemed more
visibly delighted by the acclaim waiting in New Delhi than Dr. A.P.J.
Abdul Kalam. An impish, shaggy-haired bachelor, Kalam is widely regarded
as the central figure in India's drive to join the small club of
nuclear-armed nations.

Kalam, 66, has never hidden the passion for a powerful India that has
driven him since he was growing up in a poor family on the coast of Tamil
Nadu.  Among colleagues a new word, "kalamitous," was coined to capture
the outspokenness with which Kalam greeted each new delay in the tests, or
in getting the money to develop the missiles to deliver nuclear bombs.

When he returned to New Delhi over the weekend from the test site in
Rajasthan, Kalam found himself a national hero, applauded and besieged for
autographs, though the tests drew widespread condemnation in the rest of
the world.

"We must think and act like a nation of a billion people, and not like
that of a million people," he said. "Dream, dream, dream! Conduct these
dreams into thought, and then transform them into action."

Only a few years ago, Kalam became so frustrated with the reluctance of
successive governments to approve nuclear tests that he came close to
quitting as the government's top scientific adviser to become vice
chancellor of the University of Madras. On Sunday, when he appeared with
other members of India's nuclear team at a news conference, nobody was
surprised when Kalam stole the show with his readiness to flirt with
political issues.

In the middle of a baffling exposition on "sub-critical fissionable
materials"  and "electronic arming and fusing sub-systems," Kalam turned
to a favorite political topic -- how a nuclear-armed India will be free of
the fear of foreign invasions, which have constantly remolded the ancient
Hindu civilization as armies of Macedonians, Persians, Afghans and Britons
swept into the north. 

"For 2,500 years India has never invaded anybody," he said. "But others
have come here, so many others have come."

For many Indians, the references to invasions, many by Muslims,
underscored an aspect about Kalam that is almost as engaging as his
unguarded remarks, a biographical fact that is rarely mentioned: Like the
captain of the national cricket team, like some of India's top generals
and newspaper editors and diplomats, like many of its top film-makers and
artists, Kalam is one of the 120 million Muslims in a nation of 700
million Hindus.

As India celebrated its arrival as a nuclear-arms power, some said Kalam's
role meant the world now has an "Islamic bomb," but one that belongs to
India -- an India ruled by Hindu nationalists. The term "Islamic bomb"
describes the yearning among some of the world's one billion Muslims for
the development of nuclear weapons by a Muslim country, most likely
Pakistan, India's arch-rival, which is considering whether to respond to
the Indian tests with one of its own.

But though Kalam is an observant Muslim, his attitudes and tastes speak of
his immersion in the broader culture of India.

He is an avid reader of ancient Hindu scriptures. He has published poems
in Tamil, his first language. And one of his pastimes in his modest
walk-up apartment in New Delhi is plucking a veena, a stringed instrument
with a curved musical box at each end that is associated with Shiva, a
Hindu god who is regarded as both creator and destroyer. 

According to one Indian biography, Kalam knows by heart sections of the
best- known of all of Hinduism's sacred books, the Bhagavad-Gita. If so,
this would give him another link to Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist who
led the team that tested the first American atomic bomb, in the New Mexico
desert on July 16, 1945. According to some accounts, after the pre-dawn
flash signaled the birth of the atomic age, Oppenheimer quoted a line
attributed to Shiva in the Bhagavad-Gita: "Now I am become death, the
destroyer of worlds."

A line in one of Kalam's poems suggests that he, like Oppenheimer, has
agonized over the moral aspect of his work. Before becoming the chief
scientific adviser and leader of the nuclear-weapons team, Kalam was best
known as a missile engineer, working on the program that launched India's
first space satellites, and later as the head of the team that developed
and test-fired missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads.

In an English translation, the poem, "Tumult," asks: "Did I explore space
to enhance science, or did I provide weapons of destruction?"

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on Oct. 15, 1931, on
Dhanushkodi, an island off Tamil Nadu, where his father rented a boat to
fishermen who worked the narrow strait between India and what was then
Ceylon, now Sri Lanka.

Some accounts have said that Kalam's affection for Hinduism developed when
a primary-school teacher separated him as a Muslim and placed him at the
back of a classroom, prompting tears from a Brahmin boy who was his best
friend.  Later the Brahmin boy's father, spotting scientific ability in
the young Kalam, helped pay for him to go to a Roman Catholic high school
and to college.

Kalam has said his ambition was fired by an article about the Supermarine
Spitfire, Britain's front-line fighter during World War II, that he read
as a small boy delivering a local Tamil newspaper. 

Later he studied aeronautical engineering at the Madras Institute of
Technology, but did not attempt a doctorate. (He has since garnered many
honorary degrees.)

His only extended period abroad came when he was part of a five-man Indian
team invited to spend four months visiting space research centers in the
United States in the early 1960s, during the first years of the American
manned-space program.

Several of the Indian scientists who led the nuclear test team, including
Dr.  Rajagopal Chidambaram, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, did
post- graduate studies in the United States, as did many of the scientists
who have worked on Pakistan's nuclear program.

But Kalam has insisted that India has achieved its successes in missile
development and bomb-building substantially unaided, apart from some early
assistance in rocketry from the United States and the Soviet Union.

As for himself, he says, "I am completely indigenous!"