Wednesday November 22, 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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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