India-Romania Space Cooperation: INCAS to contribute in ISRO’s ambitious endeavours, says Claudia Dobre, Director of Business Development, INCAS

INCAS has been involved in all major national aeronautical projects for civil and military areas, and is currently acting as a major player in EU policy making for Research and Development.

The National Institute for Aerospace Research “Elie Carafoli” – INCAS is the leading research establishment in aerospace sciences in Romania, with a tradition of more than 70 years in aerospace engineering, flow physics and applied aerodynamics, using state-of-the-art technologies and a unique infrastructure of national strategic importance. INCAS has been involved in all major national aeronautical projects for civil and military areas, and is currently acting as a major player in EU policy making for Research and Development.

Eng Claudia Dobre – Director of Business Development (she is also an Aeronautical Engineer), shares more about INCAS’s involvement in the Gaganyaan programme as well as other areas of cooperation with India Space Research Organization and Aerospace industry with Huma Siddiqui.

What is the Romanian National Institute for Aerospace Research and Development (INCAS)?

As a research establishment, INCAS’ mission is to offer dedicated research and development services to the aerospace community. INCAS handles everything from basic-oriented research via applied research to technological development and implementation of the obtained production results.

INCAS is an advanced research centre that plays a key role both nationally and internationally in providing world-class capabilities across the spectrum of basic and applied aerospace science research, providing industrial support and expertise.

The institute carries out this mission in an environment that is integrated with the whole chain of stakeholders, including industry, SMEs and the academic community, supported by appropriate decision making bodies and authorities.

What services and capabilities does INCAS offer?

• Certification for civilian and military products in the aerospace sector;
• Aerospace research and development (including testing up to TRL 6 technological maturity level) for military and civilian applications;
• Concept, development and certification for manned and Unmanned Air Systems (UAS);
• Research and development (including testing up to TRL 6 level) for the field of launchers and spacecraft technology;
• Integration and Technology Transfer;
• Conceptual and detailed design for aeronautical structures;
• Preliminary design for space launchers through multidisciplinary optimization;
• Design and optimization for the mechanical parts of spacecraft and production management;
• Mechanical strength analysis and dynamic simulation;
• Research-development for specialized military equipment.
• Automatic or semi-automatic elaboration of algorithms, imaging analysis of optical and radar information, data synchronization;
• Remote sensing of atmospheric aerosols and satellite calibration-validation missions;
• Environmental impact applications, laser aerial scanning, remote sensing;
• Geospatial analysis and terrestrial monitoring, including software developments;

What are the joint aviation and aerospace projects with India?

The current cooperation between INCAS, in Romania and Indian Space and Aerospace Industry is the first cooperation of this kind for Romania and can open a wide range of possibilities for cooperation, both at research level but also industry.

Although INCAS main activities refer to aeronautics topics, over the last years, the space related activities have increased considerably, becoming an important part of INCAS portfolio, offering the possibilities for very interesting international cooperation as this is the case for the cooperation with Indian Aerospace Industry. It is also our interest to promote and use INCAS ground testing infrastructure (including wind tunnels) as capacity back-up for important industrial international programs.

INCAS is able to contribute considerably to ISRO’s ambitious endeavours, seeing as how there is a congruence between the aviation and space sector with regards to technologies and laboratory work and also the actual vehicle configuration. Having been involved heavily in both aviation and space programs over time, INCAS can and is willing to provide its expertise and additional capacity in order to strengthen the already positive Romanian-Indian collaboration.

About the supersonic testing project of Gaganyaan Mission which ISRO is working on?

This mission is human rated and therefore our expectations are high. To send astronauts on Lower Earth Orbit would be an extraordinary achievement for India, and INCAS is honoured to be part of this effort, at experimental and laboratory levels. The activity in the project is related to the aerodynamic characterization of the entire launch vehicle with the typical techniques and instruments, while the critical importance of safety is addressed by performing similar tests on the Crew Escape System. In particular, this vehicle poses great challenges by simulation of jets at lab scale, being a premiere for INCAS. Other details refer to the dynamic characterization that must accompany the full-scale tests for these vehicles that have proven their value twice in the history of space, safely bringing astronauts back to Earth.

What are the future plans you have for working with the Indian Space and Aerospace Industry?

The successful activities in the frame of this current collaboration will be the perfect base for a long-lasting collaboration with India over the space and aeronautic topics. For INCAS the collaborations refer more to the European partners and less to the non-EU countries, this is why INCAS considers this collaboration as a great opportunity to extend its collaborations beyond Europe and few other partners in North America and Asia. We are open towards new partnerships on a win-win approach and mutual benefits, both in the civil and military areas. Last but not least, we strongly emphasize the academic dimension of our R&D organization and we consider that research projects associated with academia may also be considered a potential area for sustainable partnerships.