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ISRO upbeat after successful launch of six Singaporean satellites

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Sriharikota: India on Wednesday successfully launched six Singaporean satellites. As the Indian space agency achieved the milestone of its 50th rocket launch from here, its chief said they are now looking at the way forward and have a lot more to achieve.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle’s core alone (PSLV-CA) variant — standing 44.4 metres tall and weighing around 227 tonnes — took off from the Sriharikota rocket port in Andhra Pradesh, around 80 km from Chennai. It rose into the evening skies, riding majestically on the tail of fierce orange flames.

Expressing satisfaction at ISRO’s performance in 2015, the space agency’s chairman A S Kiran Kumar said it was now way forward to 2016.

ISRO will carry on the activity of putting satellites — both communication and earth observation variants — into orbit, he said.

“We have a lot more to achieve next year,” he said.

Another official said with Wednesday’s successful blast-off, ISRO also achieved the milestone of its 50th rocket launch out of Sriharikota.

Besides launching the six Singaporean satellites, ISRO also tested the rocket’s fourth stage/engine’s ability to restart after it was cut off around 17 minutes into the flight.

Technically speaking, India was testing a multiple burn fuel stage/rocket engine for the first time.

“The restart and shut off of the fourth stage engine is done as a first step towards launching multiple satellites but in different orbits,” an ISRO official told IANS, declining to be named.

Launching multiple satellites with a single rocket is nothing new for ISRO and it has been doing that for several years now. The challenge is, however, to put several satellites into different orbits with one rocket.

This is what ISRO plans to test when the PSLV-CA ejects the six Singaporean satellites.

The PSLV rocket is a four-stage/engine rocket powered by solid and liquid fuel alternatively.

“Restarting a rocket engine soon after it is shut off is a critical technology that has to be mastered. Once a rocket engine is activated, then the heat generated is very high. The trick is to cool it down in space and to restart it after a short gap,” an industry expert said.

“This is entirely different from switching on and off the communication satellite’s engines in space. The interval between two restarts of a communication satellite engine will be in days. But in the case of restarting a rocket engine, the time gap will be in hours,” the expert added.

“By that time, the rocket’s engine has to be cooled down. This part of the experiment is very critical,” he explained.

The PSLV’s fourth stage/engine will be restarted just over 67 minutes into the flight or 50 minutes after the engine was cut off.

At the time of restart, the fourth stage will be in a lower altitude of 523.9 km while the satellites would have been ejected at 550 km altitude.

The engine will be operated for four seconds and is planned to go up to an altitude of 524 km before it is cut off again.

In December 16 blast-off, ISRO is using the ‘core alone’ variant of the PSLV rocket. The rocket did not have the strap-on boosters, its standard feature.

With the successful launch of the six Singaporean satellites, ISRO has put a total of 57 foreign satellites into space.

Out of the six satellites, the 400 kg earth observation satellite called TeLEOS-1 is the main passenger for the PSLV rocket and hence the mission is called TeLEOS mission by ISRO.

TeLEOS-1 is Singapore’s first commercial earth observation satellite designed and developed by ST Electronics.

The other five co-passenger satellites are VELOX-C1 (123 kg), VELOX-II (13 kg), Kent Ridge-1 (78 kg), Galassia (3.4 kg) and Athenoxat-1.

The December 16 mission is the last launch mission for ISRO in 2015.

So far in 2015, ISRO has launched 14 satellites (three Indian and 11 foreign) from its rocket port in Sriharikota. Thirteen satellites were launched with PSLV rocket and one communication satellite — GSAT-6 — with geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV).

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

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India set for another lunar expedition in early 2018

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lunar expedition
lunar expedition (Image:wikipedia)

Bengaluru, Oct 31: India will undertake another lunar expedition in early 2018 by sending a lander and a rover to explore the Moon to unravel its origin and present conditions, a top space official said on Monday.

The second Moon mission — Chandrayaan-2 — comes nearly a decade after India’s maiden lunar odessey in November 8, 2008, through a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket, which was launched on October 22 that year.

For launching Chandrayaan-1, the ISRO used PSLV rocket as the spacecraft carried only an impact probe vehicle to crash land on the Moon surface from its orbit.

“We are working towards putting an orbiter, lander, and the whole system in the lunar orbit in the first quarter of 2018,” state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar told reporters here.

“The orbiter is getting ready and integrated,” he said.

“The lander and rover are undergoing tests. Some more tests are planned for December,” the ISRO chief said.

The lunar spacecraft will be launched onboard the space agency’s heavy rocket — Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark II — from the second launch pad of the space port, located at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

As part of integration, the lander and rover would be configured for soft landing at a designated spot on the Moon and to conduct scientific experiments.

The rover will emerge from the lander to observe the lunar terrain and relay the data along with images through radio links.(IANS)

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India to launch new Cartosat-2, 28 foreign satellites in December

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ISRO
India to launch new Cartosat-2, 28 foreign satellites in December

India would launch its latest remote sensing satellite in Cartosat-2 series along with 28 foreign satellites riding piggy-back in December, a top space official said on Monday.

“In the next launch, we have a Cartosat along with 28 international commercial satellites, which we will launch in the second half of December,” said S. Rakesh, the Chairman and Managing Director of Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

There will be 25 nano satellites and three micro satellites from the US and other countries as co-passengers along the space firm’s own satellite of the Cartosat-2 series, he said.

The satellites will be launched into the orbit onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Rakesh added.

The next launch will be keenly watched as it comes after ISRO’s PSLV rocket failed to deploy a spare navigation satellite on August 31. The rocket’s heat shield had failed to separate leaving the satellite inside the shield.

The Cartosat-2 is an earth observation satellite that is capable of providing high-quality images.

Imageries from Cartosat-2 series are used for cartographic, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps, change detection to bring out geographical and man-made features and other Land Information System (LIS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) applications.

The previous satellite (Cartosat-2E) in the series was launched on February 15 this year from the spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 90km northeast of Chennai.(IANS)

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Mission to Moon: ISRO to launch Chandrayaan 2 in 2018

Isro scientists are currently carrying out tests for the Chandrayaan-2 lander and the rover that will explore the moon

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Chandrayaan 2
ISRO will launch Chandrayaan 2 in 2018. Pixabay.
  • Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Atomic Energy and Space Dr. Jitendra Singh has announced the launch of the second mission to the moon, Chandrayaan 2, to be carried out in the first quarter of 2018.
  • ISRO Scientists have started their flight integration activities for its next lunar mission called as Chandrayaan 2.

Chandrayaan 2, India’s second mission to the moon, is an upgraded version of the previous Chandrayaan 1 mission launched nine years ago. This spacecraft is supposed to be a composite model comprising of orbiter, lander, and rover. According to ISRO, Chandrayaan 2 will land softly with the rover on the moon enhancing further scientific exploration on the lunar surface.

Chandrayaan 2
With the launch of Chandrayaan 2, India seems to have advanced in Space Exploration. Pixabay.

The minister even said India to have emanated as the world’s frontline nation in the field of Space Technology, at the annual inaugural session of the five-day Asian Conference on Remote Sensing. He referred to PM Narendra Modi’s efforts by appreciating the advancement in science and technology in the past three years where India had launched South Asian Satellite.

The 38th Asian Conference on Remote Sensing is ongoing in New Delhi from October 23 to 27.

-Prepared by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram. Twitter @tweet_bhavana