Thursday October 19, 2017

ISRO’s year of commercial launches

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Chennai: The year 2015 could be termed as one of the commercial launches for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) while steps have been taken to spread the usage of space technology within India.

During the year, the Indian space agency launched 17 foreign satellites as against three Indian ones from its rocket port in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

Last month, India also launched its GSAT-15 communication satellite using the Ariane rocket of the European space agency, taking the total number of satellite launches in 2015 to 21 (17 foreign, four Indian).

India will send aloft two telecommunication satellites – GSAT-17 and GSAT-18 – on the Ariane 5 rocket in 2016 and 2017.

However, it terms of the foreign tonnage, ISRO had transported around 2,148 kg, which is much below the GSAT-15’s three-tonne weight.

According to space agency officials, India has contracted to launch over 20 satellites – a mix of nano, micro and normal sized ones -over the next three years.

According to ISRO chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar, the immediate focus is on completing the second vehicle (rocket) assembly line that would enable increasing the launch frequency.

In terms of rockets used, 19 satellites were launched with the polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) and one communication satellite – the GSAT-6 – with a geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV).

During the year, India joined a select group of nations – the US, Japan and Russia, as also Europe – with the successful launch of the Astrostat space observatory. India also moved a step forward towards its own satellite navigation systems by launching the IRNSS-1D in March.

On July 13, India launched its satellite-based air navigation services GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation Satellite System) and in the process joined a select group of the US and Japan, as also the European Union (EU) that have a similar system.

GAGAN is meant to provide accurate navigation services over the Bay of Bengal, southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean, Middle East and African region.

In another plus, the space agency successfully tested the restarting of the PSLV rocket after its engine was cut off during the mission to launch six Singaporean satellites on December 16. This would enable ISRO to launch multiple satellites in different orbits with a single rocket.

And, to increase the usage of Indian space technology a meeting of central government ministries were held in New Delhi during the year where ISRO showcased its products and services and their uses.

Besides, with the launch of the GAGAN and IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System) projects, ISRO and the Airports Authority of India organised a user-meet in Bengaluru for these services.

The year 2015 also saw the Netherlands-based International Criminal Court (ICC) tribunal deciding against ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix Corporation for cancelling a $300 million (Rs.2,000 crore) deal with Bengaluru-based Devas Multimedia Ltd. This involved a 12-year lease of 90 percent of transponder space on two satellites, G-SAT6 and G-SAT6A that were yet to go aloft at the time.

The ICC awarded $672 million (Rs.4,434 crore) in damages to Devas Multimedia and ISRO said it would contest the award.

Highlights:

* India’s Mars Orbiter completed 100 days of its Martian orbit on the New Year’s Day 2015.

* Distinguished scientist A.S. Kiran Kumar was appointed a secretary, department of space and ISRO chairman.

* The year ending was the 40th year after the launch India’s first satellite, Aryabhata, with a Russian rocket.

* Till date, 50 rockets – not including sounding rockets – have been launched from Sriharikota.

* Indian Railways initiated discussions with ISRO on the possibility of using GPS-Aided Geo-Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) for safety at unmanned railway crossings.(Venkatachary Jagannathan, IANS)

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Our Culture of Environmental Protection has long been Forgotten, says Union Minister Harsh Vardhan

The Environment Minister at the Union, Harsh Vardhan, stated that India has forgotten its important culture of environment protection

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Union Minister
Union Environment Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan. Twitter
  • Harsh Vardhan, India’s Union Minister, stated that environmental protection, which is a part of the country’s culture, has been fading away
  • The Environment minister blames the modern lifestyle behind this problem
  • He also stressed that the issue of global warming is taken seriously and attempts are underway in all organizations

July 08, 2017: During a plantation drive at a District Park in Paschim Vihar that marked the beginning of ‘Van Mahotsav’ celebrations, the Union Minister Harsh Vardhan stated that Environmental protection is a significant part of the Indian culture.

Blaming the present and modern day lifestyle habits, he notes that we are forgetting our culture and letting the environment concerns eliminate from it.

Stressing the importance of scientific research, the Environment Minister urged science to solve the basic problems such as water and sanitation. He suggests the scientists to “start from the grassroots level”

ALSO READ: Sahel: Climate Change May Turn Africa’s Most Dried Region Green, say Researchers

He also claimed that India could have set up a big example for the whole world had it stuck and continued with environmental protection in accordance with its culture. He reminded us that water, forests, air, and land are a matter of serious concern.

Dr. Vardhan also expanded that the issue of climate change and global warming is a burning issue and that all organizations of the government are making sincere efforts to take effective actions.

In times of potential danger to humanity, the minister said that ‘environmental soldiers’ are necessary for the country.

ISRO is working in the field of carbon emissions. The International Solar Alliance (ISA), with the cooperation of France, is a Prime Minister’s initiative to address climate change.

On this special occasion, the efforts of Anil Madhav Dave, a former environmental minister were also acknowledged.

– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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Indian Space Programme deserves kudos for sending a record 104 Satellites into the Orbit at one go

According to a chinese daily, even though the recent record-breaking accomplishment of Indian space program was marvelous, it still has a long way to go

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PSLV C35, ISRO, wikimedia commons

Beijing, Feb 16, 2017: India deserves kudos for sending a record 104 satellites into the orbit at one go but it was way behind than China in space technology, a Chinese newspaper said on Thursday.

An editorial in the state-run Global Times said by smashing the previous Russian record of putting 37 satellites into the orbit in 2014, India’s frugal space exploration offered “food for thought for other countries”.

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India did a good job but has a long way to go as there still was no Indian astronaut in space and the plan to establish a space station was yet to take off, the paper said.

“This is perhaps the first widely followed world record India has made in the field of space technology. The Indians have reason to be proud,” the daily said.

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“However, the space technology race is not mainly about the number of satellites at one go. It’s fair to say the significance of this achievement is limited. In this regard, Indian scientists know more than the Indian public, who are encouraged by media reports.

“It’s a hard-won achievement for India to reach current space technology level with a relatively small investment. It offers food for thought for other countries. India launched a lunar probe in 2008 and ranked first among Asian countries by having an unmanned rocket orbit Mars in 2013.

“Nonetheless, the development of a country’s space technology is determined by the size of its input.

“The US space budget in 2013 was $39.3 billion, China $6.1 billion, Russia $5.3 billion, Japan $3.6 billion and India $1.2 billion.

“As India’s GDP is about one-fifth to one-fourth that of China’s, the share of investment in space technology in India’s GDP is similar to that of China’s.

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“There is another figure that deserves attention. India’s defence budget is about one-third of China’s, a higher percentage of GDP than that of China.”

It said the Indian space programme was based on certain considerations, including an ambition to make New Delhi a great power.

Also, India felt it should remain present in space technology development, given its close links with military, the daily said.

“On the whole, India’s space technology still lags behind the US’ and China’s. It has not yet formed a complete system.

“There is no Indian astronaut in space and the country’s plan to establish a space station has not started.” (IANS)

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ISRO aiming for a World Record by Launching 83 Satellites on single Rocket in early 2017

The major challenge for the proposed mission is to hold the rocket in the same orbit till all the 83 satellites are ejected

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Representational image. Flickr

Chennai, October 28, 2016: Indian space agency ISRO is aiming for a world record by putting into orbit 83 satellites — two Indian and 81 foreign — on a single rocket in early 2017, a top official of Antrix Corporation said.

He said the company’s order book stands at Rs 500 crore while negotiations are on for launch order for another Rs 500 crore.

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“During the first quarter of 2017 we plan to launch a single rocket carrying 83 satellites. Most foreign satellites are nano satellites,” Rakesh Sasibhushan, Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Antrix Corporation told IANS.

Antrix Corporation is the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

He said all the 83 satellites will be put in a single orbit and hence there will not be any switching off and on of the rocket.

The major challenge for the proposed mission is to hold the rocket in the same orbit till all the satellites are ejected.

He said ISRO will use its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle XL (PSLV-XL) rocket variant for the record launch.

For ISRO, launch of multiple satellites at one go is not a new thing as it has done it several times in the past.

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According to Sasibhushan, the total payload/weight carried off into space by the PSLV-XL rocket will be around 1,600 kg.

Citing non-disclosure agreements, Sasibhushan declined to name the clients whose satellites ISRO will put into orbit.

He said some satellites belong to clients whose satellites ISRO put into orbit in the past.

Meanwhile, ISRO is conducting high-altitude tests with its own cryogenic engine that is expected to power the heavier rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mk III (GSLV Mk III).

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The GSLV Mk III has a capacity to carry around four tonnes of load.

The rocket is scheduled to be flown in January 2017.

The GSLV Mk III rocket is expected to save precious foreign exchange for India as it pays to launch heavier satellites through foreign space agencies.

In an interaction, ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said the agency is looking forward to develop four-tonne communication satellites that will give the same output as a six-tonner. (IANS)