Thursday March 21, 2019

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)

Next Story

ISRO Launches ‘Young Scientist’ Programme to Train Students in Space Science

The list of students taking part in the training programme's maiden session during this summer (May-June) is expected by March-end

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credit: static.dnaindia.com

State-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Monday announced the launch of its Young Scientist programme to train class 9 students in space technology and its applications.

“ISRO has launched the special programme for school children ‘Yuva Vigyani Karyakram’ (Young Scientist programme) to impart basic knowledge on space technology, space science and applications to the young ones to arouse their interest in space activities,” the city-based space agency said in a statement.

With an aim to spread scientific fervour among the youth in the country, ISRO said it chalked out the programme to “catch them young”.

The two-week residential training programme will be held each year during summer holidays for students from across the country who have completed class 8 and are studying in class 9.

ISRO
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Chairman K. Sivan, left, and Junior Indian Minister for Department of Atomic Energy and Space Jitendra Singh address a news conference in New Delhi. VOA

“Three students will be selected from each state/union territory to participate in the programme each year covering CBSE, ICSE and state syllabus,” the statement said.

The space agency has approached the Chief Secretaries of the states for the selection of three students from each state and Union Territories.

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The list of students taking part in the training programme’s maiden session during this summer (May-June) is expected by March-end, ISRO said.

“The selection is based on the academic performance and extracurricular activities. Students belonging to rural areas have been given special weightage in the selection criteria,” it added. (IANS)