GVF at the India Space Congress

05 December 2022

Martin Jarrold, vice president international programme development, GVF

Martin Jarrold, vice president international programme development, GVF

Since 1997 GVF has been committed to facilitating various initiatives in support of satellite and space, two of which – the globally benchmarked GVF Training & Certification programme and the GVF Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Response (HADR) collaboration initiative – were a feature of high level dialogue during the recent India Space Congress in New Delhi. GVF’s Pune-based lead on international programmes for capacity building, HADR & network validation, Riaz Lamak, speaking for GVF, commented: “in the case of a natural disaster, robust and swift communication is a vital necessity. GVF’s initiative is to facilitate and coordinate collaborations between all engaged stakeholders, including governments, NGOs and the satellite communications industry to enable every possible assistance in saving human lives.”

During a panel discussion – featuring representatives of the European Space Agency and GSOA as well as Riaz Lamak – GVF presented two programmes as case studies. The first took the example of ‘Pacific Endeavor;’ the second, the example of the UN ‘Crisis Connectivity Charter.’ The following moderator-led panel discussion provided Riaz Lamak with the opportunity to illustrate how such case studies pertain to India’s benefit and to expalin what contribution the Indian adminstration can make in the form of emergency licensing procedures, etc.

‘Pacific Endeavor,’ with which GVF has been engaged since 2012, is an initiative coordinated by the United States Indo-Pacific Command (US Pacific Command prior to 2018) through the ‘Multinational Communications Interoperability Program.’ It is a highly successful joint military exercise involving 25+ Indo-Asia-Pacific nations (including India as a signatory to the Program) which provides multinational capacity building support for preparedness for emergency communications for disaster management response, relief and recovery. Riaz Lamak presented a collection of de-classified video clips from US Indo-Pacific Command together with a detailed overview of ‘Pacific Endeavor.’

The ‘Crisis Connectivity Charter’ – in terms of the mechanics of its planning, activation and operation – was then detailed from the point of view of “Preparedness and rapid deployment of immediately available resources being the vital elements in saving human lives,” as noted by Riaz Lamak, and from the point of view of GVF having been one of the prime actors in its conceptualisation, in collaboration and coordination with ESOA (now GSOA) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
The practicalities of the implementation of the Charter’s provisions are managed by the WFP Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) which oversees the emergency communications requirements of other UN agencies as well as those of the WFP. GVF is a global partner with ETC (along with many humanitarian, private sector, and government organisations concerned with HADR together with stakeholders in making a difference in ICT emergency response.

GVF has since May 2020 presented a series of almost 50 webinars which, from ‘live’ views and streamed recordings have attracted a global aggregate audience of 25,000. Those which have most directly addressed issues related to satellite and HADR, and which are available from the GVF webinar archive are:

  • Preparing for, and Responding to, the Inevitable Disaster: Satellite
  • Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Response: The Evolving Role of Satellites in Disaster Response

These webinars have featured prominent panellists representing GVF members from Arabsat, Eutelsat, Hughes, and Inmarsat. Most noted of these was the late and much missed Simon Gray of Eutelsat. Amongst innumerable other achievements, Gray was the satellite industry’s champion and driver of the ‘Crisis Connectivity Charter.’

A further panel at the India Space Congress focussed on inspiring and skilling tomorrow’s workforce and explored deliverables and actionable areas for capacity building in space and satcoms in India, nationally and regionally, based on initiating a discussion between academia, industry and government to promote space and satcom related R&D for commercial space innovation.

The benchmarked GVF Training & Certification programme was explained, highlighting three tracks – (a) GVF Satcom Training: comprising online modules, and followed by hands-on practicals mentored by Riaz Lamak and his team at Mahdi Bagh Computers (MBC); (b) GVF Advanced Satellite System Engineering training: classroom-based high-end technical content customised to audience requirements and delivered by veteran subject matter experts at MBC; (c) The new ‘Space Business Qualified’ (SBQ) training certification: aimed at the emerging and rapidly changing space and satcoms ecosystems for non-satcom personnel and touching primarily on non-technical themes in space business.

SBQ is the resut of a collaboration between GVF, SatProf Inc (i.e., GVF Training), and SSPI. Online and self-paced, SBQ enables students to master the fundamentals of the business of space, filling a critical gap in online training for people in the space and satellite industry; many of whom are new to the industry or looking to deepen their knowledge to increase their productivity and advance their career. Students successfully completing all five SBQ Fundamentals courses and a comprehensive exam will receive an SBQ Fundamentals Certification, valid for three years and renewable. The tuition fee for the complete Fundamentals course and exam series is just US$900, a significant saving on purchasing individual courses. The SBQ Fundamentals course series – providing a broad introduction to all business aspects of key space industry sectors, including launch, spacecraft, communications, broadcast, Earth observation, navigation, and exploration – comprises:

  • Fundamentals of Orbits & Getting into Space (SBQ401)
  • Spacecraft Fundamentals (SBQ402)
  • Space Communications Fundamentals (SBQ403)
  • Space Business - Markets (SBQ404)
  • Space Business - Finance, Legal & Regulatory (SBQ405)

Several follow-up specialist series, in satellite communications and broadcast, spacecraft and launch, and earth observation, navigation, and science, are planned for release early next year.

Riaz Lamak was pleased to report that the India Space Congress was a great success, receiving encouraging feedback from the government and industry eco-system, and from other stakeholders. The event had 650 delegates, and featured 180 speakers of 30 nationalities across 35 sessions.