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Let’s cover the entire gamut of projects concluded by ISRO in these 2 years.

IRNSS will be covered in a separate article.

GSAT Series

#1. GSAT-6

  • GSAT-6 is the twenty fifth geostationary communication satellite of India built by ISRO and twelfth in the GSAT series
  • Five of GSAT-6’s predecessors were launched by GSLV during 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2014 respectively
  • After its commissioning, GSAT-6 has joined the group of India’s other operational geostationary satellites
  • GSAT-6 Satellite provides communication through five spot beams in S-band and a national beam in C-band for strategic users
  • It was launched using GSLV-D6 (Explained below in GSLV Missions)

#2. GSAT-15

  • It is a high power satellite being inducted into the INSAT/ GSAT system
  • It carries a total of 24 communication transponders in Ku-band as well as a GPS
  • Aided GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) payload operating in L1 and L5 bands
  • It is the third satellite to carry GAGAN payload after GAST-8 and GSAT-10, which are already providing navigation services from orbit
  • It carries a Ku-band beacon as well to help in accurately pointing ground antennas towards the satellite
  • It was launched by Ariane-5 VA-227 launch vehicle from Kourou, French Guiana on early morning of November 11, 2015

#3. GSAT-16

  • GSAT-16, an advanced communication satellite, weighing 3181.6 kg at lift-off, is being inducted into the INSAT-GSAT system
  • GSAT-16 is configured to carry a total of 48 communication transponders, the largest number of transponders carried by a communication satellite developed by ISRO so far, in normal C-band, upper extended C-band and Ku-band
  • GSAT-16 carries a Ku-band beacon as well to help accurately point ground antennas towards the satellite
  • The designed on-orbit operational life of GSAT-16 is 12 years
  • The communication transponders on-board GSAT-16 together ensure continuity of various services currently provided by INSAT-GSAT system and serve as on-orbit spares to meet contingency requirements or for the augmentation of such services
  • GSAT-16 was launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) by Ariane-5 VA-221 launch vehicle from Kourou, French Guiana
  • GSAT-16 was positioned at 55 deg East longitude in the Geostationary orbit and co-located with GSAT-8, IRNSS-1A and IRNSS-1B satellites


  1. 12 Ku-band transponders each with 36 MHz usable bandwidth with footprint covering Indian mainland and Andaman & Nicobar islands
  2. 24 C-band transponders each with 36 MHz usable bandwidth with footprint covering Indian mainland and island territories
  3. 12 Upper Extended C-band transponders each with 36 MHz usable bandwidth with footprint covering Indian mainland and island territories

PSLV Missions

#1. PSLV C28/ DMC3 Mission: Heaviest commercial mission ever undertaken by ISRO

  • PSLV in its 30th flight (PSLV-C28) launched three identical DMC3 optical earth observation satellites built by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), UK
  • PSLV-C28 was the ninth flight of PSLV in ‘XL’ configuration
  • With the overall lift-off mass of the five satellites amounting to about 1440 kg, this mission becomes the heaviest commercial mission ever undertaken by Antrix/ISRO
  • The three DMC3 satellites, each weighing 447 kg, were launched into a 647 km Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO) using the high-end version of PSLV (PSLV-XL) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota (SDSC-SHAR), the spaceport of India


  1. The DMC3 constellation comprises of three advanced mini-satellites DMC3-1, DMC3-2 and DMC3-3
  2. It is designed to address the need for simultaneous high spatial resolution and high temporal resolution optical Earth Observation
  3. Launched into a single Low-Earth Orbit plane and phased with a separation of 120° between them, these satellites can image any target on the Earth’s surface every day
  4. Major application areas include surveying the resources on earth and its environment, managing urban infrastructure and monitoring of disasters

It also carried two auxiliary satellites from UK:

  1. CBNT-1, an optical technology demonstrator earth observation micro satellite built by SSTL
  2. De-OrbitSail, a technology demonstrator nano satellite built by Surrey Space Centre

#2. PSLV C30/ Astrosat

  • PSLV, in its 31st flight (PSLV-C30), launched Astrosat into a 650 km orbit of 6 deg inclination to the equator
  • Along with Astrosat, six satellites from international customers viz. LAPAN-A2 of Indonesia, NLS-14 (Ev9) of Canada and four identical LEMUR satellites of USA were launched
  • PSLV-C30 is the tenth flight of PSLV in its ‘XL’ Configuration

#3. PSLV C29/ TeLEOS-1 Mission/ 6 Singapore satellites

  • PSLV, in its 32nd flight (PSLV-C29), launched six satellites of Singapore into a 550 km circular orbit inclined at 15 degrees to the equator
  • This is the eleventh flight of PSLV in ‘core-alone’ configuration (without the use of solid strap-on motors)
  • Of these six satellites, TeLEOS-1 is the primary satellite weighing 400 kg
  • The other five are co-passenger satellites which include two micro-satellites and three nano-satellites:
  1. VELOX-CI, micro-satellite
  2. VELOX-II, 6U-Cubesat technology demonstrator
  3. Athenoxat-1, a technology demonstrator nano-satellite
  4. Kent Ridge-1, a micro-satellite
  5. Galassia, 2U-Cubesat

IRNSS Constellation

The recent launches in this series are:

#1. PSLV C-27/ IRNSS-1D

#2. PSLV C-31/ IRNSS-1E

#3. PSLV C32/ IRNSS-1F

#4. PSLV C33/ IRNSS-1G

IRNSS-1G was the 7th and last satellite in the IRNSS constellation.

With this, India has achieved the milestone of being one the very few countries to have its own Positioning System.

[IRNSS will be dealt with in detail in a separate story]

GSLV Missions

#1. GSLV-D6/ GSAT-6

  • GSLV-D6 is the ninth flight of India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)
  • It is also the fifth developmental flight of GSLV
  • This is the third time the indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) is being carried on-board during a GSLV flight
  • GSLV-D6 flight is significant since it intends to continue the testing of CUS
  • GSLV is designed to inject 2 ton class of communication satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO)
  • GSAT-6 is explained above

#2. GSLV-Mk III: Launching humans into space

  • ISRO killed two birds with one stone when the GSLV Mk3 test with an inert cryogenic stage took off with the CARE (Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment)
  • The module reached an altitude of 80 km and made a successful splash down in the sea using the largest parachutes ever made in the country
  • Once operational, the crew module will host up to three Indian astronauts for orbital missions lasting up to a week in space
  • It will make India only the fourth nation in the world after Russia, US and China to have the ability to send humans into space; maybe even to the moon one day
  • According to ISRO the schedule for sending the first Indian on an Indian rocket is planned for 2021
  • For this, the GSLV Mk3 will have to be man-rated – it has to demonstrate a set number of continuous successful launches

Reusable Launch Vehicle- Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD)

The cost of access to space is the major deterrent in space exploration and space utilization. A reusable launch vehicle is the unanimous solution to achieve low cost, reliable and on-demand space access

Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstration Program or RLV-TD is a series of technology demonstration missions that have been considered as a first step towards realizing a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully re-usable vehicle.

A Winged Reusable Launch Vehicle technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) has been configured to act as a flying test bed to evaluate various technologies, namely, hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, powered cruise flight and hypersonic flight using air-breathing propulsion.

2015 Space Pioneer Award

  • Space Pioneer award for the year 2015 was presented to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in the Science and Engineering category during the 34th Annual International Space Development Conference held at Toronto in Canada during May 20 -24, 2015
  • National Space Society (NSS) of USA presented this award in recognition of ISRO’s efforts in accomplishing Mars Mission in its very first attempt
  • In 2009, NSS has presented similar award to ISRO in recognition of the great accomplishment they have made in the success of the Lunar Probe, Chandrayaan-1
  • National Space Society (NSS) is an independent nonprofit educational membership organisation dedicated to the creation of a space faring civilisation

Any doubts?

  1. Gaurav Srivastava

    What are bands???

  2. V

    sir please include date of launch it is most important for state psc aspirants

  3. Gautam Gunjan

    What are S bands and why they are said to be national band?

  4. Devesh Tiwari

    Interceptor missile mission a ‘failure’ ??
    are you sure ? please again check this newsfeed
    i guess its an opinion, not a news !

    1. Root

      Good catch. A “?” is a better qualifier.

  5. Root

    Reusable Launch Vehicle- Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) is the latest achievement in ISRO’s innovations over the last years.

    We updated this story with an exhaustive CD Explains article to consolidate everything in one place.

  6. Rakhi Dwivedi

    Very useful Information ,thanks civils daily for making such a huge effort and helping us ….continue your help and maintain your standard of information ,awesome work

    1. Root

      Thanks Rakhi. Feel free to add or ask for any information in the community.

  7. Root

    The ISRO story updated with a comprehensive Explainer on developments in 2015-16

  8. wara 36

    respected admin i am just relying on CD for current affairs,,,and ,for GS papers current affair related topics i am preparing from your “stories” option and reading news papers only for editorials will it suffice…for current affairs in CSE…?

    1. Root


  9. Ankur Yarazarvi

    Spell check people. Spell check.

    1. Root


      1. Ankur Yarazarvi

        Ah huh! You are the only one feeling playful today. I have proof 😛

        1. Root

          😉 Corrected in time.

        2. Ankur Yarazarvi

          You are not the only one*

          Can’t edit the damned comments.

  10. Purushotam Kumar

    Thanks sir ……

  11. Sadiq Ali S

    you are giving very efficient points thank you sir Keep up the Great work…


    Really good work ! Please continue the same and thanks for your efforts???

  13. Pearlin A.R Mercy

    Its reaily usefull..

  14. raju ganachari

    Articles r tooo good please continue your great work 🙂

  15. Arun Muradnar

    S-band :
    S band is part of the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum. It is defined by an IEEE standard for radio waves with frequencies that range from 2 to 4 GHz, crossing the conventional boundary between UHF and SHF at 3.0 GHz.
    The S band is used by weather radar, surface ship radar, and some communications satellites, especially those used by NASA to communicate with the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.
    S band is also used in optical communications to refer to the wavelength range 1460 nm to 1530 nm.

    Unified S-band, an S-band communication system used in the Apollo program of manned spaceflight.

  16. Arun Muradnar

    L-band –
    L band, as defined by the IEEE, is the 1 to 2 GHz range of the radio spectrum.
    Being a relatively low frequency, L-band is easier to process, requiring less sophisticated and less expensive RF equipment, and due to a wider beam width, the pointing accuracy of the antenna does not have to be as accurate as the higher bands.
    Applications – L-Band is used for low earth orbit satellites, military satellites, and terrestrial wireless connections like GSM mobile phones. It is also used as an intermediate frequency for satellite TV.

  17. rahul mishra

    > Microwave band ranges from 1 GHz to 100 GHz
    > Subdivided into into no. of subbands
    > These codenames originated in 2nd world war > later adopted by IEEE
    > Used in radar, satellite and in aviation technology
    > L band
    (long) 1 – 2
    S band
    (short) 2 – 4
    C band
    (comprise) 4 – 8
    X band 8 – 12
    Ku band
    (Kurze under) 12 – 18
    K band
    (Kurze1) 18 – 27
    Ka band
    (Kurze above) 27 – 40
    V band 40 – 75
    W band 75 – 110

  18. Rini Sen

    Oh boy!

    Cryogenics is the scientific study or production of extremely low temperatures (below –150 °C, –238 °F or 123 K)

    Cryonics is the low-temperature preservation of humans quickly after the cessation of heartbeart in an anticipation of future survival.

  19. Sumer Shah

    The S band is used by weather radar, surface ship radar, and some communications satellites.
    For ex – Used by NASA to communicate with the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.

  20. avaneesh dwivedi

    Awesome CD
    Your way of providing CA in such a coherent way
    Many many thanks

ISRO making green propellant


Mains Paper 3: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Hydrazine Rocket Fuel (conventional), HAN, LPSC

Mains level: The newscard talks about making Space technology green with new indigenous propulsion fuel


Environment-friendly propellant to power satellites and spacecraft

  1. Scientists at the ISRO have reported progress in the development of an environment-friendly propellant to power satellites and spacecraft
  2. The effort is to replace the conventional hydrazine rocket fuel, a highly toxic and carcinogenic chemical, with a greener propellant for future missions
  3. Due to its high-performance characteristics, hydrazine has dominated the space industry as the choice of propellant for over six decades, despite its environmental and health hazards and the challenges faced in its manufacturing, storage, ground handling and transportation
  4. Initial tests by a research team at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) here have shown promising results in the formulation and associated tests of a propellant blend based on hydroxyl-ammonium nitrate (HAN)

Particulars of HAN

  1. The LPSC team has formulated the HAN-based monopropellant
  2. A monopropellant is a chemical propulsion fuel which does not require a separate oxidizer. It is used extensively in satellite thrusters for orbital correction and orientation control
  3. The in-house formulation consists of HAN, ammonium nitrate, methanol and water
  4. Methanol was added to reduce combustion instability, the choice of ammonium nitrate was dictated by its capacity to control the burn rate and lower the freezing point of the propellant

[pib] IRNSS-1I 


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC)’ system, IRNSS-1I

Mains level: India’s strides in space sector


  • IRNSS-1I is the latest member of the ‘Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC)’ system.
  • ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C41 successfully launched the 1,425 kg IRNSS-1I Navigation Satellite from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota.
  • It will replace IRNSS-1A and join the constellation of seven satellites.
  • It will have L5 and S-band navigation payload with rubidium atomic clocks.
  • It will be placed in a sub-geosynchronous transfer orbit and at its closest point will be 284 km above the Earth and at its farthest will be 20,650 km above the Earth.
  • Like all other IRNSS satellites, IRNSS-1I will also carry two payloads – navigation payload and ranging payload.


  • There are currently seven Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System ( ‘Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC)’ system) satellites (1A to 1G) in orbit.
  • A, B, F, G are placed in a geosynchronous orbit, which means they seem to be at a fixed location above the Earth and they orbit along with the Earth.
  • The remaining three C, D, E, are located in geostationary orbit-they seem to be at a fixed location above the Earth along the equator and orbit along with the Earth.
  • The launch of IRNSS-1I will be the ninth navigational satellite launch under the project which has seen seven successful launches and one unsuccessful launch.


  • IRNSS will assist in terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking and fleet management, integration with mobile phones, precise timing, mapping and geodetic data capture, a terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers, visual and voice navigation for drivers and riders
  • Navigation satellite signal receivers which will give positioning and weather alerts to fishermen in deep sea and more such devices will be fitted in boats in Tamil Nadu and Kerala
  • This will help in sending alerts to fishermen vital information at times of cyclones

IRNSS-1I up in orbit, completes navigation fleet


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Atomic clock, NavIC, etc.

Mains level: Importance of the navigation satellites.


Navigation satellite IRNSS-1I

  1. It was successfully launched early morning today
  2. It is eighth in series and completes the first phase of the Indian regional navigation constellation
  3. Although 1I is the ninth to be launched in the NavIC navigation fleet, it counts as the eighth as the previous one, 1H, was lost in a faulty launch last August
  4. They were planned as backups but became necessary after the three imported rubidium atomic clocks on 1A failed while in orbit

Importance of the satellites

  1. The navigation satellites, dubbed India’s own GPS, are meant for giving precise information of position, navigation and time of objects or people
  2. They have a civilian and a restricted military/security applications
  3. Built for a ten-year job in space, 1I is expected to be ready for work in about a month after routine orbit manoeuvres and tests


 Rubidium atomic clocks 

  1. A rubidium standard or rubidium atomic clock is a frequency standard in which a specified hyperfine transition of electrons in rubidium-87 atoms is used to control the output frequency
  2. It is the most inexpensive, compact, and widely produced atomic clock, used to control the frequency of television stations, cell phone base stations, in test equipment, and global navigation satellite systems like GPS
  3. Commercial rubidium clocks are less accurate than cesium atomic clocks, which serve as primary frequency standards, so the rubidium clock is a secondary frequency standard
  4. However, rubidium fountains are currently being developed that are even more stable than caesium fountain clocks

Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System

  1. The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) with an operational name of NAVIC (which stands for NAVigation with Indian Constellation) is an autonomous regional satellite navigation system, that provides accurate real-time positioning and timing services
  2. It covers India and a region extending 1,500 km (930 mi) around it, with plans for further extension
  3. The system at-present consist of a constellation of 7 satellites, with two additional satellites on ground as stand-by
  4. The constellation is already in orbit and system was expected to be operational from early 2018 after a system check
  5. NAVIC will provide two levels of service, the ‘standard positioning service’ will be open for civilian use, and a ‘restricted service’ (an encrypted one) for authorized users (including military). Due to the failures of one of the satellites and its replacement no new dates for operational status has been set

Isro to launch navigation satellite


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).

Mains level: Importance of the NavIC.


PSLV-C41/IRNSS-1I Mission

  1. It is scheduled to be launched on Thursday
  2. IRNSS-1I is expected to replace IRNSS-1A, the first of the seven navigation satellites, that was rendered ineffective after its three rubidium atomic clocks failed
  3. The seven satellites are part of the NavIC navigation satellite constellation

It is a replacement satellite

  1. The launch will be Isro’s second attempt at sending a replacement satellite
  2. The previous mission of a PSLV carrying IRNSS-1H in August last year failed after the heat shield covering the satellite failed to separate


Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System

  1. The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) with an operational name of NAVIC (which also stands for NAVigation with Indian Constellation) is an autonomous regional satellite navigation system, that provides accurate real-time positioning and timing services
  2. It covers India and a region extending 1,500 km (930 mi) around it, with plans for further extension
  3. The system at-present consist of a constellation of 6 satellites, with one becoming redundant
  4. There are two additional satellites on ground as stand-by for enhanced operation
  5. The constellation is already in orbit and system was expected to be operational from early 2018 after a system check
  6. NAVIC will provide two levels of service, the ‘standard positioning service’ will be open for civilian use, and a ‘restricted service’ (an encrypted one) for authorized users (including military)
  7. Due to the failures of one of the satellites and its replacement no new dates for operational status has been set

[op-ed snap] Launch lessons


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the GSAT-6A

Mains level: The newscard discusses possible reason behind the failure of the recent GSLV launch.


Disappointment for India’s space programme

  1. The loss of communication between the ground station and the Indian Space Research Organisation’s latest satellite after its launch on March 29 is deeply disappointing
  2. ISRO’s mission was aimed to place the communication satellite, GSAT-6A, in space
  3. The last word has not been said on the mission, as ISRO officials continue to try to establish contact with the satellite

What went wrong?

  1. The GSAT-6A was first raised to the elliptical orbit marked by the following parameters: its perigee, or point of closest approach to Earth, was 5,054 km; and its apogee, or point of farthest approach, was 36,412 km
  2. This was followed up by a second orbit-raising operation on March 31
  3. It was after this and during the third such operation that the ground station lost contact with the satellite
  4. This is why it is being conjectured that the failure occurred because of a flaw outside the launch vehicle, the GSLV, perhaps from a short circuit or power glitch within the satellite itself

No mission is a total failure

  1. In complex scientific feats such as ISRO’s projects, there is no mission so devoid of a learning aspect to it that it is deemed a total failure

ISRO should be more open

  1. ISRO should be open about the specific learning points from this launch exercise
  2. Space science is exciting not just for the experts, but to many outside the field
  3. Therefore, it is important that the agency presents itself more openly to the world

Isro loses contact with GSAT-6A satellite in rare glitch


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: GSAT-6A and GSAT-F08.

Mains level: Particulars of the GSAT-6A


Confirmation from the ISRO

  1. ISRO has confirmed that it had lost communication with GSAT-6A satellite, three days after its launch
  2. But Efforts are underway to establish the link with the satellite
  3. GSLV-F08(carrying the GSAT-6A) was the 12th flight of GSLV and Sixth flight with indigenous Cryogenic Stage

Particulars of the GSAT-6A

  1. The 2,140-kg GSAT-6A is a high powered S-band communication satellite which would help improve mobile communications to handheld devices, as well as network management techniques that would have been useful in satellite- based mobile communication applications
  2. The technology was aimed at helping the armed forces among other users by improving communications in remote areas
  3. It had a mission life of 10 years

[pib] GSLV Successfully Launches GSAT-6A Satellite


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: GSLV, GSAT

Mains level: ISRO space missions


  • India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F08) successfully launched GSAT-6A Satellite into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO)
  • This is the fifth consecutive success achieved by GSLV carrying indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage.
  • In its oval-shaped GTO, GSAT-6A is now orbiting the Earth with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 169.4 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 36,692.5 km with an orbital inclination of 20.64 deg with respect to the equator


  • GSAT-6A is a communication satellite built by ISRO to provide mobile communication services through multibeam coverage.  For this, it is equipped with S and C band transponders.
  • The orbit of GSAT-6A will be raised from its present GTO to the final circular Geostationary Orbit (GSO) by firing the satellite’s Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) in stages

GSAT-6A gives India bigger eye in the sky


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the GSAT-6A, Vikas engine, etc.

Mains level: Complement this newscard with GSAT-6A to give armed forces a shot in the arm


Mission: GSAT-6A 

  1. The ISRO has successfully placed a communication satellite GSAT-6A in a geosynchronous transfer orbit
  2. It was carried on board the GSLV F-08 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre
  3. The satellite will be placed at a height of 36,000 km in a geostationary orbit, and the antenna will be unfurled in the coming days

Particulars of the GSAT-6A

  1. The GSAT-6A is a communication satellite that incorporates the high-thrust Vikas engine
  2. It will complement the GSAT-6, which is already in orbit
  3. These two satellites combined will provide platforms for development of advanced technologies such as the unfurlable antenna, hand-held devices, and ground networks
  4. The GSAT-6A’s antenna has a diameter of six metres — it can be unfurled and opened like an umbrella once it reaches its prescribed orbit


Vikas (rocket engine)

  1. The Vikas (an acronym for VIKram Ambalal Sarabhai) is a family of liquid fuelled rocket engines conceptualized and designed by the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre in the 1970s
  2. The design was based on the licensed version of the Viking engine with the chemical pressurisation system
  3. The early production Vikas engines used some imported French components which were later replaced by domestically produced equivalents
  4. It is used in the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) series of expendable launch vehicles for space launch use
  5. Vikas engine is used to power the second stage PSLV, boosters and second stage of GSLV Mark I and II and the first stage of GSLV Mark III. The propellant loading for Vikas engine in PSLV, GSLV Mark I and II is 40 tons, while in GSLV Mark III it is 55 tons

GSAT-6A to give armed forces a shot in the arm

Image source


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: GSAT-6A, S-band communications satellite

Mains level: Various achievements of ISRO


GSAT-6A ready to launch

  1. GSAT-6A, the second predominantly S-band communications satellite, is set to be launched from Sriharikota
  2. The 2,000-kg-class 6A will complement GSAT-6
  3. It is designated for the use of the Armed Forces and will not add any transponder capacity for general uses

Special feature of GSAT-6A

  1. A special feature of the GSAT-6A is its 6-meter-wide umbrella-like antenna, which will be unfurled in once it is in space
  2. The antenna is thrice as broad as the antennas generally used in ISRO satellites
  3. It will enable mobile communication from anywhere via hand-held ground terminals and won’t require large ground stations

Chandrayaan-2 launch postponed to October: ISRO chief


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Chandrayaan-2

Mains level: Very important mission of the ISRO


Launch postponed to October

  1. The launch of India’s second lunar mission ‘Chandrayaan-2’, slated for next month, has been postponed to October
  2. Why: the experts have suggested some tests


  1. Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, in-charge of the Department of Space, had in February 16 last said the lunar mission of the ISRO will be launched in April

Particulars of the Chandrayaan-2

  1. India’s second mission to the Moon is a totally indigenous mission comprising of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover
  2. After reaching the 100 km lunar orbit, the Lander housing the Rover will separate from the Orbiter
  3. After a controlled descent, the Lander will soft land on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy a Rover
  4. The mission will carry a six-wheeled Rover which will move around the landing site in semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands
  5. The instruments on the rover will observe the lunar surface and send back data, which will be useful for analysis of the lunar soil
  6. The Chandrayaan-2 weighing around 3290 kg and would orbit around the moon and perform the objectives of remote sensing the moon. The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice.

BHEL to make Li ion cells with ISRO technology


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | indigenization of technology & developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: ISRO, BHEL, space grade lithium ion cells

Mains level: Developments in Indian space sector


Technology transfer agreement between BHEL and ISRO

  1. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has signed a technology transfer agreement with Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd for the manufacture of space grade lithium ion cells
  2. These will be used for the space programme and other national requirements

Li-ion batteries use

  1. The Li-ion batteries power various applications on satellites and launch vehicles
  2. Currently, BHEL assembles and tests Li-ion batteries using imported cells
  3. Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre at Thiruvananthapuram has developed the technology to produce space grade Li-ion cells


Li-ion batteries

  1. A lithium-ion battery or Li-ion battery (abbreviated as LIB) is a type of rechargeable battery in which lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge and back when charging
  2. Li-ion batteries use an intercalated lithium compound as one electrode material, compared to the metallic lithium used in a non-rechargeable lithium battery
  3. The electrolyte, which allows for ionic movement, and the two electrodes are the constituent components of a lithium-ion battery cell
  4. Generally, the negative electrode of a conventional lithium-ion cell is made from carbon
  5. The positive electrode is a metal oxide, and the electrolyte is a lithium salt in an organic solvent
  6. The electrochemical roles of the electrodes reverse between anode and cathode, depending on the direction of current flow through the cell

Contest is off but TeamIndus to still go to moon

Image source


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Google Lunar XPRIZE, TeamIndus, Antrix Corporation

Mains level: India’s achievements in space technology


Private Indian mission to the moon

  1. Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP) organizer has called off its 10-year-old challenge
  2. Space startup TeamIndus had planned to send a lander-rover to the moon on an ISRO launcher

About the mission

  1. Space startup TeamIndus and Antrix Corporation had come together to send private Indian mission to moon along with Japanese partner Hakuto
  2. They were to develop an unmanned lunar rover


Antrix Corporation

  1. Antrix Corporation Limited is the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
  2. Its objective is to promote the ISRO’s products, services, and technologies
  3. It was incorporated as a private limited company owned by the Indian government on 28 September 1992
  4. The company is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU), wholly owned by the Government of India
  5. It is administered by the Department of Space (DoS)

ISRO successfully launches 42nd PSLV


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the payload

Mains level: All missions of the ISRO are important from examination point of view. Also, it is the first successful launch after the recent failure. 


What is the news?

  1. The ISRO has launched its 42nd Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota
  2. The PSLV-C40 is to place 31 satellites, originating from seven countries, across two orbits

Particulars of the Cartosat-2

  1. The Cartosat-2 imagery will be used to develop various land and geographical information system applications, weighs 710 kg and was to be placed in a circular polar sun synchronous orbit 505 km from Earth
  2. The satellite’s design life is five years
  3. The 30 co-passenger satellites together weigh 613 kg

Technology demonstrator

  1. It was the two other Indian satellites in the C40’s payload that generated the most excitement
    (A microsatellite and a Nanosatellite)
  2. Both were called technology demonstrators, indicating significant strides towards miniaturisation
  3. The Indian Nano Satellite – 1C, is the third in its series; its predecessors were part of the PSLV-C37 launch of February 2017
  4. The INS-1C, whose mission life is six months, carries the Miniature Multispectral Technology Demonstration payload from the Space Applications Centre
  5. Why important: With a capability to carry up to 3 kg of payload and a total satellite mass of 11 kg, it offers immense opportunities for future use


  1. The ISRO had seen its previous launch of August 31, 2017 being recorded as a failure
  2. The heat shield of PSLV-C39 did not separate, resulting in satellite separation occurring within the shield
  3. It was only the second total failure of the PSLV in nearly 24 years: the PSLV-D1, in its maiden flight, had failed on September 20, 1993



  1. The term “microsatellite” or “microsat” is usually applied to the name of an artificial satellite with a wet mass between 10 and 100 kg (22 and 220 lb)
  2. However, this is not an official convention and sometimes those terms can refer to satellites larger than that, or smaller than that (e.g., 1–50 kg (2.2–110.2 lb))
  3. Sometimes designs or proposed designs from some satellites of these types have microsatellites working together or in a formation
  4. The generic term “small satellite” or “smallsat” is also sometimes used, as is “satlet”


  1. The term “nanosatellite” or “nanosat” is usually applied to the name of an artificial satellite with a wet mass between 1 and 10 kg (2.2–22 lb)
  2. Again designs and proposed designs of these types usually have multiple nanosatellites working together or in formation (sometimes the term “swarm” is applied)
  3. Some designs require a larger “mother” satellite for communication with ground controllers or for launching and docking with nanosatellites

PSLV all set to ferry 31 satellites tomorrow


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Payloads

Mains level: It is an important mission after the last failure


Particulars of the payloads and mission

  1. It is the PSLV-C40 flight mission
  2. The upcoming 42nd PSLV will carry a total of 31 satellites including 28 paid riders
  3. The main payload, the 710-kg Cartosat-2F, is the seventh in the Cartosat-2 series and is built to work for five years
  4. Said to have a high, sub-metre resolution, it is unofficially said to serve military surveillance purposes

Foreign Customers

  1. ISRO is putting up two of its own small satellites — a 100 kg micro satellite and the 11-kg nano satellite INS-1C. There are also 28 smaller customers
  2. The commercial satellites include three 100-kg class micro satellites and 25 nanosats (1-10 kg) from Canada, Finland, France, Korea the U.K. and the U.S.


  1. A successful flight of PSLV-C40 is expected to put behind the Indian light lift rocket’s freak failure on August 31
  2. 39 successes later, PSLV launch fails

ISRO mulls launching 65 satellites for a slew of uses


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the ISAC

Mains level: Future goals set by the ISRO


Ambitious plan of the ISRO

  1. ISRO has set itself an ambitious to-do list of making and launching around 65 satellites
  2. They are planned to be realised over the period from 2017 to 2021

New goals by the ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC)

  1. According to the ISAC, the new goal puts ISAC’s annual asking rate at around 18 satellites a year: ISAC would now need to come out with three satellites every two months
  2. ISAC’s 45-year tally peaked in 2017 with a record 12 spacecraft, recently


Indian Space Research Organisation Satellite Centre(ISAC)

  1. The ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) is the leading centre of ISRO for design, development, fabrication and testing of all Indian made satellites. It was established in the year of 1972 as Indian Scientific Satellite Project (ISSP) in Peenya Industrial Estates of Bengaluru
  2. Situated in Vimanapura Post of Bangalore, Karnataka, the centre has produced more than 90 satellites including the INSAT series, the IRS series, as well as the GSAT communication satellites
  3. Organisations under the umbrella of ISAC include the Laboratory for Electro-Optics Systems (LEOS) and the ISRO Satellite Integration and Testing Establishment (ISITE)
  4. Mylswamy Annadurai is the current director of ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC)

[pib] Ahmedabad Space Application Centre developing new ‘Remote’ Sensor camera


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Remote Sensor camera

Mains level: Indigenization of technology & developing new technology


  • Ahmedabad Space Application Centre is all set to develop a new advanced hi-tech “Remote Sensor” camera with a capacity to capture images/pictures from a height of over 300 km
  • The new “Remote Sensor Camera” will be fully indigenous, living up to “Make in India” concept and may be available by early next year. The new gadget will be an improvement on the existing application used for infrastructure development works, soil management and even security-related tasks

Various firsts this year

  • In the current year itself, a number of “firsts” were achieved including the launching of South Asia Satellite and world record of the launching of 104 satellites at a single launch

ISRO developing a compact launcher for small satellites

Image Source


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: It will increase Space Market Share of India in the world market.


ISRO’s compact launcher for small satellites

  1. ISRO is planning for a low-cost small satellite launcher
  2. Preliminary work to design and develop an ambitious small launch vehicle has already began

What is so special about this launcher?

  1. Its design will enable a handful of engineers to assemble it within a week
  2. And the launcher should be able to put satellites of up to 500-600 kg in orbits close to the Earth
  3. The development cost would be kept low at a few crore as the new launcher’s requirement of advanced electronics is considerably lower
  4. It could also tremendously cut the launch fee that customers would have to pay

Easy to assemble

  1. Today, it takes 300-plus engineers and about 40 days to assemble a PSLV
  2. A small launcher that can be got up perhaps in three days by a small team would make a big difference in the market as well as to the launch provider
  3. For one, satellite operators need not wait one or two years to launch their spacecraft
  4. Secondly, a ride on small launchers could even be a ninth or tenth of the present cost

Small satellites business is rising

  1. Globally, the small satellites market is booming as they are used for various applications
  2. operators and private players are developing small launchers to capture the market at a much lower cost

India calls for stronger treaties to protect space assets

Image source


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: SAARC satellite

Mains level: India’s achievements in space technology


Expanding space cooperation

  1. Stressing international cooperation in space as in all domains of global commons, India called for  strengthening global treaties to protect space-based assets and prevent militarization of outer space

Over 200 treaties

  1. India had more than 200 international cooperation agreements with more than 40 countries and international organizations
  2. The maiden moon mission, Chandrayaan-I, is a “successful example of international cooperation with international payloads”
  3. In May, ISRO launched the communications satellite GSAT-9, also called SAARC satellite, meant to provide connectivity and disaster support to countries in South Asia
  4. India is party to all the legally binding instruments on outer space

‘PSLV built by domestic industry by 2020’


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: This step will increase private sector’s involvement in Indian Space industry.


ISRO’s plan for domestic industry

  1. ISRO is preparing to hand over the entire gamut of launch vehicle manufacture to domestic industry by 2020
  2. Efforts are on to set up a consortium of companies for the purpose

Current contribution of the Private Industry in ISRO’s missions

  1. Until now, public and private industries have only supplied devices, components and sub-systems for ISRO’s launch vehicles, including the PSLV and the GSLV
  2. ISRO already has a partnership with private industry to produce satellites
  3. The IRNSS-1H communication satellite aboard the ill-fated PSLV C-39 was the first to be produced by a consortium of six companies
  4. ISRO had a partnership with about 500 domestic industries for the supply of various components and devices

Expectations of the ISRO from the private industries

  1. ISRO stressed on the need for industry to reduce the manufacturing and material cost without compromising on quality to bring down the launch cost
  2. ISRO, he said, had tightened tolerance to error following the failure of the PSLV- C39 mission

Scientists map lunar water with data from Chandrayaan-1


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Chandrayan-1

Mains level: Great Achievement of India in Space Tech.


 Journal: Science Advance

  1. Scientists, using data from an instrument which flew aboard India’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, have created the first map of water trapped in the uppermost layer of the moon’s soil
  2. This study is published in the journal Science Advances
  3. Scientists from the U.S. used a new calibration of data taken from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper to quantify how much water is present on a global scale
  4. This Moon Mineralogy Mapper flew aboard Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft in 2008



  1.  It is India’s first mission to the moon.
  2. Includes a lunar orbiter and an impactor.
  3. Launched by a modified version of the PSLV-C11
  4. Launched On 22 October 2008 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
  5. It is a remote sensing satellite
  6. Weight: 1,308 kilograms (590 kilograms initial orbit mass and 504 kilograms dry mass)
  7. Mission Period: Over a two-years
  8. Mission Cost: The estimated cost for the project is Rs. 3.86 billion.
  9. Aim: Survey the lunar surface to produce a complete map of its chemical characteristics and 3-dimensional topography. The polar regions are of special interest, as they might contain ice.
  10. Payloads: The mission includes five ISRO payloads and six payloads from other international space agencies including NASA, ESA, and the Bulgarian Aerospace Agency, which are being carried free of cost.
  11. With the successful launch of Chandrayaan-1, India became the sixth nation to send a mission to the moon.

39 successes later, PSLV launch fails

Image Source


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the PSLV and IRNSS

Mains level: It is important to know the reasons behind such failures.


Mission Failure

  1. The PSLV-C39 mission carrying the replacement navigation satellite IRNSS-1H failed 
  2. This was the PSLV’s first failure after 39 continuously successful launches and only the second such instance since 1993
  3. The failure may somewhat dent the image that the PSLV commands in the global small-to-medium launchers market

Reason behind the failure

  1. According to the ISRO, the spacecraft was stuck in the heat shield in the last and fourth stage, it did not release into space as planned

ISRO opens up satellite making to industry


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the ISAC

Mains level: It is an important step for making a self-reliance satellite industry in India. Also, it can be seen as an example of ‘Make in India.’


ISRO Invites Applications

  1. ISRO has allowed domestic entities that can give it up to 18 spacecraft a year starting mid to late 2018
  2. ISRO has invited single or combined industries to apply for this opportunity, if they are found technically suitable

More about the decision

  1. ISAC would sign a 3 contract with the finalists, train, handhold and supervise their teams in making its range of satellites at its facility
  2. ISRO has made four categories of spacecraft: communication, remote sensing, navigation and scientific missions
  3. And in three sizes of 1,000 kg to 4,000 kg

Possible Benefits of this step

  1. Right now, the manpower of ISAC/ISRO is not adequate for meeting both the increased load of making more satellites and also for the R&D that we need for future satellites
  2. The present bid to outsource our AIT(assembly, integration and testing) will help ISRO re-deploy our human resources effectively and focus on R&D
  3. It would also aid self-reliance by way of an independent Indian satellite industry

ISRO to develop full-fledged earth observation satellite


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basics of Earth observation satellite

Mains level: Important scientific development. This is first-its-kind satellite in India


New Earth Observation Satellite

  1. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch a earth observation (EO) satellite which is called the Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite or HySIS
  2. It will use a critical chip which was developed by ISRO itself
  3. But there is no specific time-frame yet for its launch

Features of the satellite

  1. The new chip to be fitted in the satellite is technically called an “optical imaging detector array”
  2. The planned satellite could see in 55 spectral or colour bands from 630 km above ground

ISRO set to launch satellite with corrected clocks



Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Concepts behind the functioning of Atomic Clocks

Mains level: An important step in the direction of self-sufficiency in GPS Technology


Replacement Satellite

  1.  ISRO will soon launch a replacement navigation satellite fitted with corrected atomic clocks
  2. Why: Due to the malfunctioning of the IRNSS-1A because of its atomic clock
  3. This satellite will be a part of NAViC

What is NAViC?

  1.  NAViC or Navigation Indian Constellation, is India’s own GPS-like system to give accurate information about location and time of persons or objects
  2. It is same as the older U.S. Global Positioning System or Russia’s GLONASS

Is IRNSS-1A not working?

  1. The troubled 1A can still send low-powered messages and weather data that are useful to fishermen
  2. But it cannot be used in NAViC due to its malfunctioning clock


Atomic Clocks

  1. An atomic clock is a clock device that uses an electron transition frequency in the microwave, optical, or ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum of atoms as a frequency standard for its timekeeping element
  2. Atomic clocks are the most accurate time and frequency standards known, and are used as primary standards for international time distribution services, to control the wave frequency of television broadcasts, and in global navigation satellite systems such as GPS

PSLV will lock heavy weight Cartosat-2 into orbit today


Mains Paper 3: Science and Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights

The newscard has important information on the PSLV-C38 launch.

Prelims Level: Make note of PSLV, CARTOSAT-2

Mains Level: Not Mains worthy


  1. ISRO is all set for the launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle carrying the Cartosat-2 series satellite, along with 30 co-passenger satellites
  2. The PSLV- C38 launch will take place at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota

30 other satellites:

  1. The 31 satellites, together weighing 955 kg, will be lifted into a 505-km polar sun synchronous orbit
  2. This will be the second highest number of satellites to be launched by ISRO using a single rocket


What is Cartosat-2?

  1. Cartosat-2 is an Earth observation satellite in a sun-synchronous orbit
  2. It is the primary payload aboard PSLV-C38 and will be the first to be injected into orbit, 16 minutes from lift-off
  3. The imagery provided by the satellite will be used for cartographic applications, coastal land use and regulation, road network monitoring, water distribution, land use mapping and geographical information system applications
  4. Cartosat-2 is designed for a lifespan of five years


What ails the Navigation Indian Constellation


The prime objective of ISRO is to develop space technology and its application to various national tasks. NavIC was one such attempt to make India self reliant in GPS systems as during kargil war USA had denied access to its GPS system to India which led to development of NavIC. Important news card as it contains major details regarding NavIC. Bookmark it.

From UPSC perspective, following things are important:

Prelims level: NavIC, GPS, Rubidium and cesium clocks. (Also look at properties of these elements, position in periodic table etc.)

Mains level: NavIC and various other missions of ISRO. (There was a question in Mains 2016 on this topic)


  1. The clocks on the first satellite, IRNSS-1A had failed in June 2016, affecting the accuracy of the “GPS”
  2. ISRO is trying to rectify this problem

What is NavIC?

  1. Navigation Indian Constellation (NavIC) is an independent Indian satellite-based positioning system for critical national applications
  2. NavIC consists of a constellation of seven satellites, three of which are in a geostationary orbit and four in a
  3. Its purpose is to provide ‘reliable position, navigation and timing services over India and neighbourhood’
  4. According to ISRO, the applications of IRNSS are: terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation, vehicle tracking
    and fleet management, terrestrial navigation for hikers and travellers, disaster management, integration with
    mobile phones, mapping and geodetic data capture and visual and voice navigation for drivers

What’s the problem?

  1. NavIC relies on rubidium clocks as navigation requires the most accurate clocks
  2. This January, the ISRO confirmed that the clocks on the first satellite, IRNSS-1A had failed in June 2016
  3. Though six of the satellites are working fine, the one faulty one means the “GPS” isn’t working as accurately as
    it ought to be

How’s it being fixed? ISRO was trying to revive the clocks on 1A. It is also readying one of the two backup navigation satellites to replace it in space in the second half of this year

Future prospects:

  1. Rubidium clocks were the previous standard in accurate clocks and most organisations, that need precise time estimates, need cesium clocks
  2. Future clocks on such satellites, each with a lifespan of 10 years, will host such clocks

India successfully fires heaviest launch vehicle


Mains Paper 3: Science and Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics,
nano-technology, bio-technology

The launch of India’s heaviest launch vehicle is an event of great historical importance and significance.

Following things are important from UPSC perspective: Prelims

Prelims Level: The name of the spacecraft and its details are very important for Prelims. Mains Level: The

Mains Level: The newscard also talks about the business opportunities, which should be studied for Mains


  1. India leapfrogged into a select group of nations having their own indigenous cryogenic engine technology
  2. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its heaviest launch vehicle, GSLV
  3. It placed the country’s heaviest satellite till date, GSAT-19, into a precise orbit

What is GSAT-19?

  1. GSAT-19 is a communication satelliteIt is expected to enhance India’s communication infrastructure and was
    placed into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO)
  2. The satellite weighs 3,136 kgThis successful launch will enable India to launch 4-tonne class satellites from India

A Russian design:

  1. ISRO has used indigenous cryogenic engines on earlier GSLV flights which were modelled mainly on Russian
  2. On this GSLV, no technological element was borrowed or adapted from any other space organization

First time success- The cryo stage is a complex technologyIt is a world record that while making it for the first time, there were no serious test failures or problems

Business opportunities

  1. The GSAT-19 carries a Ka/Ku-band high throughput communication transponders
  2. It also carries a Geostationary Radiation Spectrometer (GRASP) payload
  3. GRASP monitors and studies the nature of charged particles and the influence of space radiation on satellites
    and their electronic components
  4. The spacecraft will open up a lot of new vistas in the field of Internet connectivity, broadband connectivity

What is more in the pipeline?

  1. Two launches are coming up, which will happen from Ariane in French Guiana
  2. Work is on to launch two approved missions- Aditya-L1 and Chandrayaan-II– in the next two years
  3. The ‘Aditya-L1’ will be placed in the halo orbit around the Lagrangian point of the Sun-Earth system


A quick go through: Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III

  1. It is a launch vehicle developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
  2. It is intended to launch satellites into geostationary orbit and as a launcher for an Indian crew vehicle
  3. The GSLV-III features an Indian cryogenic third stage and a higher payload capacity than the current GSLV

ISRO starts landing tests for Chandrayaan-2 mission

  1. Event: ISRO has started a series of ground and aerial tests linked to the critical Moon landing of Chandrayaan-2
  2. How: It has artificially created close to ten craters to simulate the lunar terrain and test the Lander’s sensors
  3. Where: ISRO, along with a host of other scientific and strategic agencies, owns vast land for its future missions at Challakere, in a ‘Science City’
  4. When: Chandrayaan-2 is tentatively set for late 2017 or early 2018 and includes soft-landing on Moon and moving a rover on its surface

ISRO has plans to go small with lighter satellites- III

  1. Trend: Going small was in tune with the global trend and a logical extension of what we are already doing since a decade
  2. The ISRO’s own remote-sensing satellites have been getting progressively smaller, from close to 1,000 kg to the recent 370-kg Scatsat-1 to monitor ocean weather
  3. New ideas: Student satellite projects come up with interesting and relevant experiments and need to be encouraged

ISRO has plans to go small with lighter satellites- II

  1. Nano: It also plans to build 10 kg or smaller nano and micro satellites using a 100 kg IMS-1 platform
  2. This will offer ready and reliable micro and nano satellite ‘shells’ on which the IITs, universities and even start-ups can put their experimental payloads or devices
  3. IMS stands for 80 kg Indian Mini Satellite, launched in 2008
  4. Saving time: The idea is to encourage users to save time to import a suitable small satellite and instead focus on test novel concepts on the satellites

ISRO has plans to go small with lighter satellites

  1. ISRO has also firmed up a strategy to a make increasingly smaller satellites for earth observation and scientific, experimental and other missions
  2. This comes, even as it moves into making heavier communication spacecraft weighing 4,000 kg to 6,000 kg
  3. The plan for small satellites is two-pronged and can range from 10 kg ‘micros’ to 300 kg-500 kg ‘minis’
  4. Mini: A series of 350-kg ‘mini’ satellites, probably with high resolution cameras and innovative features, will be built in the near future for the ISRO’s own remote-sensing uses
  5. They will be built on the decade-old IMS-2 platform on which the ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) has earlier brought out half a dozen EO (earth observation) satellites

ISRO gears up for critical crew rescue test

  1. ISRO is gearing up to conduct a critical crew bailout test, known as ‘Pad Abort’
  2. Aim: To see how fast and effectively the crew module of an intended space mission could punch out from the spacecraft in the event of an emergency
  3. It forms part of a gamut of critical technologies being developed by ISRO as it awaits the nod from the government for the ambitious ‘human in space’ programme

Communication satellite GSAT-18 successfully launched

  1. Communication satellite GSAT-18 was successfully launched from the European launcher Ariane-5 VA-231 of Kourou in French Guiana
  2. The GSAT-18, built by ISRO, aims at providing telecommunications services for the country by strengthening ISRO’s current fleet of 14 operational telecommunication satellites

Why do we need mega launchers?

  1. The high-power local capability is needed as Indian communication satellites move towards 5,000-plus kg and more from 2017
  2. By then, ISRO plans to build and launch its heaviest 5,700-kg GSAT-11 spacecraft, although on a European Ariane rocket for a big fee
  3. Its present rockets can lift only up to 2,000 kg to this orbit

Using mega launcher with GSLV Mark-III

  1. ISRO is gearing up for first test flight of the GSLV Mark-III vehicle in December with a 4,000-kg payload
  2. It is planning to use SCE-200 on Mark-III
  3. This would readily boost Mk-III’s maximum lifting capability from 4,000 kg to 6,000 kg
  4. Two years thereafter, around 2020, this will be enhanced to 15,000 kg by putting strap-ons in clusters — the stage where major European and U.S. launch providers already are
  5. The engine will use space-grade kerosene as fuel and liquid oxygen as oxidiser
  6. Apart from powering rockets to lift heavier satellites, it will also effectively lower the cost per kilogram to reach orbits, which is the goal of all space-faring nations

Mega launchers for ISRO soon- I

  1. SCE-200: An advanced Indian mega space launcher, likely to power ISRO’s launchers by around 2018
  2. It can deliver ten-tonne and heavier communication satellites to space and using a semi-cryogenic engine
  3. Currently, the government has approved the development of the semi-cryogenic stage alone
  4. When fitted suitably into a launch vehicle, it will see India putting satellites of the class of 6,000 to 10,000 kilos, or with some variations, lift even 15,000-kg payloads, to geostationary transfer orbits at 36,000 km
  5. The engine is expected to triple or quadruple ISRO’s transportation ability
  6. ISRO has just achieved the GSLV capacity for lifting 2,000-kg payloads

The satellites on board PSLV-C35

  1. SCATSAT-1: To help provide weather forecasting services, cyclone detection and tracking; has a design life of 15 years
  2. PISAT: Developed by students of PES University, Bengaluru, carries an imaging camera as payload to capture imagery of 185 km x 135 km area with about 80m/pixel resolution
  3. PRATHAM: Another student satellite developed by IIT Bombay
  4. Algeria: ALSAT-1B, ALSAT-2B and ALSAT-1N
  5. Pathfinder-1 and NLS-19, from the USA and Canada

The longest ever flight of India’s workhorse- I

  1. News: Today, India’s workhorse PSLV, for the first time, injected eight different satellites, including weather satellite SCATSAT-1, into two different orbits
  2. The PSLV-C35 was launched from the first launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota
  3. The total weight of all the eight satellites is about 675 kg.
  4. The SCATSAT-1 was released first into a 730 km Polar Sun synchronous Orbit (SSO) after about 17 minutes
  5. The rest was injected into a lower orbit of 689 km after around two hours

Sept 26 PSLV launch to be doubly special- II

  1. Only the main passenger, ISRO’s 370-kg Scatsat-1 ocean and weather tracker, will get off first at a slightly higher orbit at 720 km
  2. It will be out in the first 17 minutes, as is customary
  3. The remaining smaller satellites, weighing between 5 kg and 110 kg, will be ejected at 670 km — but after about two hours

Sept 26 PSLV launch to be doubly special- I

  1. Two orbit placement: The PSLV satellite launcher will for the first time place its multiple passengers in two different orbits
  2. Longest time: The flight is also significant as it will last two hours and 15 minutes, making it the PSLV’s longest ever
  3. A routine PSLV launch lasts about 20 minutes
  4. Three Indian and five foreign commercial spacecraft will ride in it together

UPSC has been asking questions related to such major developments so this is the best time to revise ISRO’s Space Programme through the explainer in this very story

With reference to ‘Astrosat’, the astronomical observatory launched by India, which of the following statements is/are correct? [Prelims 2016]

1- Other than USA and Russia, India is the only country to have launched a similar observatory into space.
2- Astrosat is a 2000 kg satellite placed in an orbit at 1650 km above the surface of the Earth.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

GSAT-11 to be launched in early 2017

  1. GSAT-11: India’s advanced and heaviest communication spacecraft to date at 5,700 kg
  2. Will be launched early next year on the European Ariane launch vehicle
  3. A high-throughput satellite with multi-spot beam coverage of the country
  4. Will be far superior to the older generation three-tonne INSAT/GSAT spacecraft
  5. Designed to generate a bandwidth of more than 12 gbps primarily for users of Internet driven services, VSAT operations and rural connectivity

Road clear for Chandrayaan-2

  1. The significance of the GSLV-F05 mission’s success is that the rocket is now more than qualified to put Chandrayaan-2 into orbit
  2. The interfaces between GSLV-Mk II and Chandrayaan-2 have already been finalised

ISRO’s future plans- Venus, asteroids

  1. Missions: The ISRO is mulling over missions to Venus or an asteroid, apart from a second mission to Mars
  2. ISRO also has a number of launches in the coming years including the Chandrayaan-2 and a joint mission with NASA
  3. GSLV: Following the successful launch of GSLV-F05, ISRO plans to launch at least two GSLV Mark II missions every year
  4. ISRO now expects the GSLV to pick up business like the PSLV
  5. Cryogenic stage: It has settled into a system today & we have mastered the technology
  6. Engine: ISRO is developing another engine, C-25, that will be twice as powerful as the current one

GSLV puts satellite in precise orbit

  1. News: GSLV-F05 put the INSAT-3DR, an advanced weather satellite with four payloads, into a precise Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO)
  2. It also marked a hat-trick of successful launches for the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle
  3. This is the third consecutive flight of the GSLV Mark II with our indigenous cryogenic upper stage engine

ISRO to launch two satellites in September

  1. INSAT-3DR: A follow-on to INSAT-3D which entered space in 2013 from French Guiana
  2. The launch of GSLV Mark II carrying the geostationary weather satellite INSAT-3DR was earlier postponed due to a technical issue found in a satellite component while carrying out tests
  3. ScatSat: An indigenously developed weather forecasting satellite
  4. It will also have the capability to monitor sea surface winds and predict cyclones
  5. PSLV will be used to launch this satellite that is expected to replace Oceansat-2 which is completing its lifespan

ISRO plans record 68 satellites’ launch in one mission next year

  1. The satellites will be nano in nature from foreign countries
  2. Background: Setting a record in its space programme, ISRO in June had successfully launched 20 satellites, including earth observation Cartosat-2 series, in a single mission on board ISRO’s workhorse PSLV-C34 from the spaceport in Sriharkota
  3. It had earlier sent 10 satellites into orbit in a single mission in 2008

Why scramjet?

  1. It contributes to smaller launch vehicles with more payload capacity and promises cheaper access to outer space
  2. While conventional rocket engines need to carry both fuel and oxidiser on board for combustion to produce thrust, scramjets obtain oxygen from the atmosphere by compressing the incoming air before combustion at hypersonic speed
  3. It can also liquefy the oxygen and store it on board
  4. Also, the post-flight analysis of the RLV-TD test flight (utilising scramjet technology) had shown encouraging results

ISRO successfully test-fires scramjet engine

  1. News: The Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV) was successfully flight-tested from the launch pad of the Sathish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota
  2. ATV: A sounding rocket (research rocket) with a solid booster carrying advanced scramjet engines
  3. Aim: Realisation of an Air Breathing Propulsion System which uses hydrogen as fuel and oxygen from the atmosphere air as the oxidiser
  4. With this, India became the fourth country to demonstrate the flight testing of a scramjet engines
  5. This mission is a milestone for ISRO’s future space transportation system

Upcoming ISRO missions

  1. ISRO is set to conduct air-breathing propulsion experiment using its RH-560 rocket fitted with a supersonic combustion ramjet (Scramjet) engine on August 28 from Sriharikota
  2. A GSLV-F05 rocket with an indigenous cryogenic engine would lift-off on September 8
  3. A Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will lift off on September 26
  4. While these three missions would take place from Sriharikota, an Ariane-V launch vehicle from Arianespace will put India’s communication satellite, GSAT-18, into orbit from Kourou in French Guiana on October 4

ScatSat- 1 to help in predicting cyclones

  1. ScatSat-1 satellite: Indigenously developed weather forecasting satellite to monitor sea winds and help predict the genesis of cyclones
  2. The primary payload of ScatSat-1 is a scatterometer – to observe speed and direction of ocean winds
  3. ScatSat -1 will replace Oceansat-2

Doppler radar to boost weather forecasting

  1. ISRO has commissioned a C- band Polarimetric Doppler weather radar (C-DWR) in South India
  2. Data generated by the DWR would be shared with the India Meteorological Department to supplement its prediction
  3. The only other C- DWR in the country is at Cherrapunjee
  4. Two more units are coming up at Bhuj in Gujarat and Gopalpur in Odisha

Satellites launched from PSLV-C34

  1. Primary: Cartosat-2 Series satellite
  2. Sathyabamasat: Satellite of Sathyabama University in Chennai
  3. Swayam: Satellite of the College of Engineering in Pune
  4. Asia: LAPAN-A3 (Indonesia)
  5. Europe: BIROS (Germany), M3MSat (Canada)
  6. North America: SkySat Gen2-1 (USA) of Terra Bela (Google company), GHGSat-D (Canada) and 12 Dove Satellites (USA)

ISRO launches 20 satellites

  1. Milestone: ISRO launched 20 satellites through a single rocket (PSLV-C34), surpassing its 2008 record of launching 10 satellites in a single mission
  2. Earlier: On April 28, 2008, PSLV-C9 rocket launched a Remote Sensing satellite CARTOSAT-2A along with Indian Mini Satellite (IMS-1) and eight nano satellites
  3. Satellites: Cartosat-2 series satellite (primary), 2 satellites from Indian universities & 17 foreign satellites, including one for a Google company
  4. Launch pad: The Satish Dhawan Space Centre
  5. Experiment: ISRO also ignited the 4th stage of the PSLV rocket twice after the separation of satellites

ISRO gears up to test scramjet engine

  1. Context: ISRO will test Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV), comprising a scramjet engine hitched to a two-stage sounding rocket (RH- 560)
  2. It is indigenously-developed & based on air-breathing propulsion
  3. The test will take place from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in July
  4. The vehicle is being fabricated at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (Thiruvanathapuram, Kerala) and the ISRO Propulsion Complex, Mahendragiri

ISRO to test rocket that takes its fuel from air

  1. Context: ISRO is planning to test an air-breathing propulsion system
  2. Aim: To capitalise on the oxygen in the atmosphere instead of liquefied oxygen while in flight (upto 50km from earth’s surface)
  3. Generally: Vehicles used to launch satellites into space use combustion of propellants with oxidiser and fuel
  4. Advantages: Reducing the lift-off mass of the vehicle, increasing the efficiency of the rocket and also make it cost-effective
  5. It would also complement ISRO’s aim to develop a reusable launch vehicle, which would have longer flight duration

ISRO’s quest for a space shuttle

  1. Context: The test flight of the RLV-TD represent a first step towards the ISRO programme to master the reusable launch vehicle technology
  2. Hypersonic Flight Experiment: The first of a sequence of four test flights to validate various technologies
  3. Designed and developed by Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC)
  4. Features: 1.75 tonnes weight, uses a thermal protection system (TPS) and a Carbon-Carbon nose cap to withstand the high temperature during atmospheric re-entry
  5. Includes the composite movable fin, flush air data system to measure the surface pressure on the aircraft, onboard computer
  6. As also high resolution data acquisition system, lithium ion battery, patch antennas and radar altimeter

New technologies proven

  1. Context: Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) mission successfully launched from Sriharikota
  2. It was the first step towards India achieving a low-cost access to space
  3. Many new technologies have been demonstrated in this mission
  4. Features: Fly at hypersonic speed, reusable thermal protection

The 3 objectives of reusable vehicle test

  1. To test the characterisation of the aero-thermo dynamics of hypersonic flights
  2. To test the autonomous mission management of hypersonic vehicles
  3. To test the necessary re-entry technology for the vehicles

India tests native reusable vehicle

  1. Context: ISRO successfully tested the country’s first winged-body aerospace vehicle
  2. Step towards developing a reusable launch vehicle capable of sending spacecraft into orbit and returning to the earth’s surface
  3. Benefits: The technology, when developed completely, would launch spacecraft, including satellites, into space
  4. It will re-enter the earth’s atmosphere withstanding extreme pressure and heat conditions and land in an intended spot, helping to cut costs on launch vehicles substantially

Interceptor missile mission a failure?

  1. Context: The Prithvi missile and The interceptor never took off from the island
  2. Interceptor: Used to intercept the incoming enemy missile
  3. The DRDO developed both the Prithvi missile and the interceptor and it claims otherwise!
  4. Earlier: In April 2015, a similar mission failed after the interceptor dived into the Bay of Bengal a few seconds after lift off
  5. In April 2014, the warhead in the interceptor failed to explode

India’s very own GPS is ready with seventh navigation satellite launch

  1. Context: The set-up for India’s own navigational system is complete
  2. Name: It will be called NAVIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation)
  3. The seventh and final satellite, IRNSS-1G, was launched into a sub geosynchronous transfer orbit
  4. IRNSS: Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System

7th IRNSS navsat to be launched next week

  1. Context: The 1,425-kg spacecraft, IRNSS-1G, will be launched at 12.50 p.m. on April 28
  2. Kudos: India’s own Regional Navigation Satellite System, the IRNSS, will be completed after this 7th satellite
  3. Vehicle: Will be launched from the PSLV-C33 from Sriharikota and will be the 35th PSLV flight in the last two decades

ISRO to launch 22 satellites on one rocket

  1. News: The PSLV-XL version rocket will inject 22 satellites into the orbit, a first in the history of the ISRO
  2. It will carry Indian remote sensing satellite – Cartosat 2C, along with 4 micro-satellites and 17 nano-satellites
  3. 18 satellites are being launched for foreign agencies, including those from the U.S., Canada, Germany, and Indonesia
  4. Importance: It will signal another giant leap for India’s space mission

Union Cabinet approves procurement of launch services for GSAT-11

  1. News: Approval for the procurement of launch services and realisation of ground segment for GSAT-11 spacecraft
  2. Context: GSAT-11 will be ready for launch by the end of 2016
  3. Function: Ground segment is being realised to address the rural communication requirements
  4. Ground segment will enable the utilisation of a small portion of the bandwidth for societal services apart from providing in-orbit testing support
  5. Provide a high throughput capacity of about 10 Gbps to render broadband connectivity, especially in rural areas

India’s sixth navigation satellite, IRNSS-1F, put into orbit

  1. News: India succesfully launched its 6th navigation satellite, IRNSS-1F, into the orbit
  2. The IRNSS-1F is launched into a sub-Geosynchronous transfer orbit
  3. The satellite carries two types of payloads — navigation payload and ranging payload
  4. Navigation payload: It will transmit navigation service signals to users
  5. Ranging Payload: It is C-band transponder which facilitates accurate determination of the range of the satellite

Space technology for public welfare

  1. Context: In India, space technology is being primarily used as a tool to enable variety of public services by various Central Ministries, State Govts
  2. Public services include: TV, DTH & Radio broadcasting and Weather forecasting and Disaster early warning for Cyclone, Tsunami and Agri and fishing zone advisories
  3. Many govt programmes utilising space technology as input offer direct/ indirect benefits to public
  4. These include: Groundwater Prospect zones, watershed development, urban & rural infra planning and development, rural connectivity etc.
  5. Way forward: ISRO plans to realise communication satellites and earth observation satellites, associated ground segments and development of application tools

Popularity of ISRO’s GeoPortal Bhuvan

  1. Context: ISRO’s BHUVAN ( is a well known national geo-portal, which is being widely, used by the Government, public, NGOs and Academia
  2. Designed and developed by: a small team of scientists within ISRO
  3. Primary objective: focuses on societal-benefits and is not a commercial venture
  4. Focus on: Addressing Indian requirements of satellite Images and theme-oriented services to enable planning, monitoring and evaluation of stakeholder’s activities in governance and development
  5. Provides: nation-wide seamless ortho-corrected image base, thematic datasets for many natural resources, transport network, Digital Surface Model
  6. Services include: visualisation of remote sensing data (India-centric), host of thematic services and customised application tools for Government data collaboration

East coast set to get sixth doppler radar

  1. News: New doppler radar to boost the weather forecasting system in cyclone-prone eastern coast will shortly commissioned in Gopalpur in Odisha
  2. Context: It will be sixth such radar on country’s east coast
  3. The others are located in Chennai, Kolkata, Machilipatnam, Visakhapatnam and Paradip
  4. Built by: Indigenously built by ISRO and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL)
  5. Significance: As eastern coast is prone to cyclones and better forecast will help authorities in taking timely action

Space Act will be in place soon, says ISRO Chairman

  1. Context: ISRO is rising as a big supplier of satellites to foreign countries
  2. Why? Currently, the space-related activities are done as per business rules, which needs to be defined because the govt is responsible for any object put up in space and for what happens to it in orbit or because of the object itself
  3. As ISRO enables more and more industries in space activities, it will also bring clarity on their capabilities and limitations
  4. Importance: After enactment, all activities will be done under the Space Act
  5. Future: It will help the govt in how it will approach commercial use of space, international collaborations and international treaties; and state regulatory mechanisms

IRNSS series to be in place by first half of 2016

  1. News: The space segment comprising of 7 navigation satellites will be in place by first half of 2016
  2. Relevance: Discussions with Russia are underway to locate suitable Ground support system for enhancing the utility of navigation
  3. Background: ISRO has launched the fifth (IRNSS-1E) navigation satellite in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite system.
  4. About IRNSS-1E: the fifth navigation satellite in IRNSS constellation of 7 satellites, was successfully launched on board ‘PSLV-C31’ on January 20, 2016

GSLV-MkIII on course as cryo engine passes big test

  1. Context: ISRO’s effort to acquire the capability to launch heavier satellites into orbit
  2. News: ISRO’s cryogenic engine passed a test to qualify it for use in future missions
  3. Outcome: Its design would be frozen, to be replicated for use in the cryogenic third stage of upcoming MkIII rockets
  4. Advantage: The Mk3 will be capable of launching 4-tonne satellites into geosynchronous orbit

ISRO to use electric propulsion system on satellites in two years

  1. What’s in the News? – ISRO is planning to use electric propulsion system on satellites for station keeping and orbital manoeuvre in 2 years
  2. Center’s Involved: Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre and ISRO Satellite Centre
  3. Other Updates: The cryogenic engine for GSLV Mark-III will be undergoing stage-level test soon
  4. In Chandrayaan-II, the objective is to land a rover on the moon and carry out in-situ experiments.
  5. ISRO is also developing various technologies required for a manned mission

Panel to seek increasing ISRO outlay by 50%

  1. The Parliamentary Committee on Science & Technology would recommend a 50% higher budgetary outlay for the Department of Space (DoS)
  2. It could be the highest ever increase for the department and the total budget may surpass Rs. 10,000 crore
  3. The committee have been informed about a requirement for increasing the scientific manpower in ISRO
  4. It held that ISRO needs a bigger budget for new projects and a matching technical pool to complete them

NASA, India join hands for astrobiology mission

  1. The agencies will mount an expedition to Ladakh to study the similarities of certain parts of the region’s topography and microbial life to Martian surroundings.
  2. For the first time India is part of Spaceward Bound programme, which funds expeditions to places with extreme climate conditions.
  3. Ladakh offers a high UV exposed, dry ecosystem with Mars analogue topological features.
  4. It tell us a lot about the origin and evolution of our planet’s topological features.

India to build satellite tracking station in Vietnam that offers eye on China

India to set up satellite tracking station in southern Vietnam; officials say Vietnam will have access to data.

  1. India will set up a satellite tracking and imaging centre in southern Vietnam.
  2. That will give Hanoi access to pictures from Indian earth observation satellites that cover the region, including China and the South China Sea.
  3. Earth observation satellites have agricultural, scientific and environmental applications.
  4. Security experts said improved imaging technology meant the pictures could also be used for military purposes.
  5. ISRO has ground stations in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, Brunei, Biak in eastern Indonesia and Mauritius that track its satellites in the initial stages of flight.

You are here

India is just months away from deploying a regional alternative to GPS.

  1. ISRO launched the fifth payload of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).
  2. It will have 2 services, a public access system and an encrypted variant for military.
  3. A major geopolitical incident could render foreign GPS systems hard to access, or impossible to trust.
  4. Security will be the initial deliverable of the IRNSS.
  5. Extra accuracy which the IRNSS promises will assume significance for future developments like the Internet of Things.
  6. To revolutionise logistics and inventory management, for instance, and perhaps enhance telemetry services.
  7. IRNSS will thus help to future-proof the nation from the perspective of the security and accuracy of data.

ISRO puts fifth GPS satellite in orbit

The space agency chairman describes blast-off as successful, says two more satellites will be launched by March.

PSLV - C31 rocket blasts off from Sriharikota on Wednesday. Photo. M. Moorthy
PSLV – C31 rocket blasts off from Sriharikota on Wednesday. Photo. M. Moorthy

  1. PSLV-C31 successfully put into orbit IRNSS-1E, the fifth satellite of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).
  2. IRNSS-1E, with a liftoff mass of 1425 kg, carried navigation payload and ranging payload.
  3. The ranging payload of IRNSS-1E consists of a C-band transponder which facilitates accurate determination of the range of the satellite.
  4. IRNSS-1E also carries Corner Cube Retro Reflectors for laser ranging.
  5. The system is expected to provide a position accuracy of better than 20 metre in the primary service area.

Countdown begins for PSLV-C31 launch

The 48-hour countdown for the launch of PSLV-C31 rocket carrying IRNSS-1E satellite commenced at Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.

A panaromic view of the fully integrated PSLV C-31 rocket at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. Photo: ISRO
A panaromic view of the fully integrated PSLV C-31 rocket at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. Photo: ISRO

  1. IRNSS-1E is the fifth of the 7-series Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS), which India is hoping to put in place by the end of this year.
  2. The IRNSS is aimed at providing accurate position information service to users in India as well as the region extending up to 1500 km from its boundary.
  3. IRNSS would provide 2 types of services – Standard Positioning Service (SPS) to all users and Restricted Service (RS), an encrypted service provided to authorised users.

Electric propulsion system for ISRO satellites

The first of the few satellites would be hurled into space in 2017.

India’s geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) can carry two-tonne satellites into space.
India’s geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) can carry two-tonne satellites into space

  1. Nearly a third of the weight of a satellite is liquid fuel, which is used to power the spacecraft to its orbital slot once it is in space.
  2. On the other hand, electric or ion propulsion uses electricity generated from solar energy and releases positive atoms to create the force required to push the satellite to its slot.
  3. It weighs significantly lighter and is 10 times more efficient than liquid fuelled satellites and thus enables to add more transponders on our own.
  4. The fixed satellite service (FSS) industry is currently in a transition phase going towards higher cost effectiveness of satellite infrastructure.

ISRO conceives two ‘space parks’

To engage domestic firms in launch vehicles — from integrating sub-systems to assembling and launching the PSLV.

  1. Two space industry enclaves or “parks” that have been conceived.
  2. One for launchers at Sriharikota and a smaller one at an existing Bengaluru spacecraft campus, signal increased privatisation of the nation’s space programme over the next 5 years.
  3. This well-established rocket has put Indian and foreign satellites of up to 1,600 kg into space.
  4. The future consortium will be fully responsible for building and launching the light-lift PSLV rocket.
  5. ISRO plans to increasingly support small and mid-sized industries at its 10-year-old second spacecraft complex, the 100-acre ISITE, at Marathahalli in Bengaluru.

ISRO launches 6 Singapore satellites

  1. ISRO has successfully launched 6 Singapore satellites.
  2. The national space agency also tested the fourth stage of its PSLV rocket.
  3. This will help in future launches while attempting to launch multiple satellites in different orbits.
  4. ISRO has launched 17 foreign satellites this year, altogether it has launched a total of 57 foreign satellites for 20 countries till now.

India’s Chandrayaan-II launch in 2017 and Aditya L1 in 2019

India has entered the era of “space marketing”, so far earned $15 million and €80 million by launching satellites of other countries.

File photo of Chandrayaan-I. India's second lunar probe Chandrayaan-II will be launched in 2017.
File photo of Chandrayaan-I. India’s second lunar probe Chandrayaan-II will be launched in 2017.

  1. India’s second lunar probe Chandrayaan II will land on moon in 2017 and first solar mission Aditya L1 is likely to be launched in 2019.
  2. Chandrayaan II will land on the surface of moon in 2017 and this second lunar mission will help explore the possibilities of signs of extraterrestrial life.
  3. The Aditya L1 mission is aimed at studying the sun from an orbit around the sun-earth lagrangian point (L-1).
  4. It will carry seven payloads including a coronagraph to observe the outermost layers of the sun, the corona.

Say Goodbye To GPS! India’s All Set To Switch to IRNSS

  1. ISRO will hold a major meeting in Bangalore involving location and navigation device manufacturers, presenting to them the advantages of using IRNSS.
  2. The 7 IRNSS constellation satellites will be operational by July 2016.
  3. ISRO recommends an additional hardware chip in our handsets which will help receive both S & L band signals from IRNSS.
  4. What will that do? Excellent question!
  5. Reduce the errors caused by atmospheric disturbances significantly and give results superior than those of GPS’ handhelds!

Satellites for Agri Purpose

These satellites are also used for varied applications in natural resource management, infrastructure planning and disaster management.

  1. ISRO has launched Indian Remote Sensing Satellites in thematic series viz. Resourcesat, Cartosat and Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT-1).
  2. The images acquired by these Satellites, in conjunction with field observations, are used for various applications in the area of agriculture development.
  3. It includes mapping and monitoring of agricultural crops & its condition, crop acreage estimation & production forecast, crop phenology and growth.
  4. It also includes site suitability for crops, cropping system analysis, watershed monitoring & management, command area management and drought assessment etc.

PSLV bags two more US launch orders

PlanetiQ, one of several companies in the US developing constellations of small satellites to collect weather data, will launch its first two satellites in late 2016 on PSLV.

  1. The first two of a planned constellation of 12 satellites will fly as secondary payloads on a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) scheduled to launch in November 2016.
  2. The satellites will be placed into orbit at an altitude of 800 kilometers.
  3. About a year ago, U.S. satellite operators could not conceive of launching from India because of a longstanding U.S. policy bar.
  4. In recent years, established U.S. launch companies have moved on to lifting far heavier satellites, leaving a demand for launchers that can put smaller satellites in space.

ISRO working on 4-D, 5-D imaging technology: scientist

  1. ISRO is working on 4-D and 5-D imaging technology as part of the space agency’s engagement with hyperspectral imaging.
  2. Hyperspectral imaging is a new and emerging area in Geographic Information System (GIS).
  3. It will enable researchers, doctors and students to use the most advanced GIS tool for welfare activities.

India’s first solar mission, Aditya-1

India’s solar mission will study Sun’s outermost layers, corona and chromosphere and collect data about coronal mass ejection

  1. ISRO chairman said, India’s first solar mission, Aditya-1, is slated for lift-off in 2018-2019.
  2. Spacecraft will be positioned 1.5 million kms from the earth at a point called Lagrangian-1 and will make a detailed study of sun 24×7.
  3. Data from Aditya mission will be immensely helpful in discriminating between different models for the origin of solar storms.
  4. Helpful in constraining how the storms evolve and what path they take through the interplanetary space from the Sun to the Earth.
  5. At the moment, there are models and calculations made by NASA which Indian scientists use to maintain their satellites.

Now, there is a possibility of Indians developing their own space weather prediction models.

NISAR biggest outcome of ISRO-NASA partnership: NASA scientist

  1. ISRO will be providing the S-band SAR payload and the launch vehicle, while NASA will be providing the L-band SAR and the engineering payload.
  2. NASA and ISRO will be collaborating to make IRNSS and GPS more accurate.
  3. NASA will also be providing navigation and trajectory support to Chandrayaan-2.
  4. Both agencies are going to conduct an airborne experiment with NASA instrument Airborne Visible InfraRed Imaging Spectrometer – Next Generation.

GSAT-15 set to replace dying INSAT-3A and 4B

INSAT-3A, launched in April 2003, has completed its 12-year life. INSAT-4B, flown in March 2007, got reduced to half its functions in 2010.

  1. GSAT-15, communications satellite, will replace two older spacecraft that will likely expire in the coming months.
  2. Its 24 transponders are solely in the Ku band and will cater to DTH (direct-to-home) television first.
  3. GSAT-15 will not add new transponder capacity to the country.
  4. It will ensure sustainability of service for the capacity-hungry DTH sector.
  5. It will carry the third GAGAN satellite navigation transponder as a back-up for airlines and other users of augmented GPS-based systems.

GSAT-15 to be launched on Nov 10 from French Guiana

The satellite would provide C and Ku band telecommunications and navigation services to India.

In this photo tweeted by Arianespace GSAT-15 is shown during the integration process in French Guiana. The Indian satellite is first mated to a cone-shaped adapter (left) that will function as its interface with the Ariane5 rocket and moved into a protective container (right) for its transfer to the Spaceport’s Ariane5 Final Assembly Building.

  1. ISRO’s latest communication satellite GSAT-15 launched from French Guiana on board Ariane 5.
  2. As part of augmenting telecommunication services, had earlier launched communication satellites GSAT-14 and GSAT-6.
  3. It will have a lift off mass of 3,164.5 kg and will have mission life of 12 years.
  4. GSAT-15 launched along with Arabsat6B, set up by the Arab League Intergovernmental Organisation.
  5. Arabsat to provide telecommunications and television broadcast services for Middle East and African region.

ASTROSAT launch: India reaches for the stars


  1. India’s first attempt at setting up an observatory in space, a place from where it can study cosmological phenomena.
  2. 1500-kg ASTROSAT, a mission life of five years,which is carrying five payloads, including an ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UVIT), is being described as India’s version of the Hubble telescope that NASA had put in space in 1990.
  3. The mission is aimed at observation of celestial processes, and at obtaining data that will help in a better understanding of the universe.
  4. A space observatory can receives pure signals because of which the readings by instruments are more accurate.

This will put ISRO in a very exclusive club of nations,the United States, European Space Agency, Japan and Russia have such observatories in space.

India set to cross half century mark in foreign satellites

Till date, India has launched 45 foreign satellites for a fee.

  1. India will in all likelihood cross the half century milestone next week as six foreign satellites are scheduled for launch on September 28 at one go.
  2. Rocket polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) will launch the country’s own ASTROSAT weighing 1,513 kg.
  3. Also four from the US and one each from Indonesia and Canada is in the list.

Cryogenic success


If there was any doubt about India mastering cryogenic technology for its space endeavours, the flight of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D6) from Sriharikota (or SHAR) on August 27 dispelled it.


  1. The indigenous cryogenic engine in the third, topmost stage fired flawlessly for 12 minutes.
  2. The 2,117-kilogram communication satellite GSAT-6 was put into its initial orbit.
  3. An important feature of GSAT-6 is its six-metre diameter unfurlable antenna which will help Indian armed forces personnel communicate with each other on secure lines using compact handheld devices.
  4. Onwards, ISRO need not depend on the European Space Agency to put its communication satellites

What is NISAR?

  1. NISAR stands for NASA ISRO synthetic aperture radar. It is being developed to take a radar imagery of earth in an unprecedented detail.
  2. NISAR will use two different radar frequencies – L-Band by NASA and S-band by ISRO.


What are these different bands? S & L

What is GAGAN?

GAGAN stands for Geo Augmented Navigation System for civil aviation purpose. It is a joint effort of ISRO and AAI to help the air traffic to land and fly airplanes in bad weather.

ISRO-NASA mission to use GSLV-D6 rocket

  1. NASA ISRO SAR Mission (NISAR) is expected to be launched on board GSLV-D6 in 2020-21.
  2. NISAR would be optimised for studying hazards and global environment change.
  3. By using India’s GSLV for launching satellites weighing up to 2 tonne, it would help save on foreign exchange, not using foreign launchers.
  4. GSLV will cost just one third of the cost we have to spend on foreign agencies.
  5. ISRO has lined up 10 Indian satellites to be launched on board GSLV-D6.

GSAT-6 will be a game changer

  1. The GSLV-D6 satellite launcher is powered by the indigenously developed upper cryogenic stage to send the GSAT-6 communication satellite.
  2. GSAT-6 is a predominantly S-band communication satellite that enables multimedia applications.
  3. It will be used purely for ‘strategic’ purposes by the Armed Forces and for societal uses during a disaster or an emergency.
  4. It would function the same way as other INSAT/GSATs, but in hardware terms, it would be a game changer.

What is S-Band and what are its specific usage?

What is the difference between cryonics & cryogenics?

ISRO hopes soar for another indigenous GSLV launch success

  1. ISRO is planning to launch indigenous GSLV launcher boosted by its Indian cryogenic third stage.
  2. GSLV-D6 is the ninth in the series of the indigenous medium-lift satellite launch vehicle and will carry 2,140-kg communication satellite GSAT-6.
  3. GSLV will enable India to launch satellites upto 2 tonnes, for which we currently rely on costly Western launchers.
  4. Some of the planned GSLV launches for domestic use: INSAT-3DR, a spare to replace the meteorology satellite INSAT-3D, GISAT, GSAT-6 which will in future be replaced by GSAT-6A.

ISRO to launch 9 nano/micro American


As on date, Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of ISRO, has signed agreement to launch about nine nano/micro (US) satellites during 2015-2016 time frame.

  • ISRO’s commercial vehicle Antrix will launch 9 micro and nano US satellites as small co-passengers using PSLV.
  • A micro satellite weighs between 10 to 100 kgs while a nano satellite weighs between 1 to 10 kgs.
  • ISRO-NASA are also co-developing a Synthetic Aperture Radar – a radar imaging satellite and will be launched from India in 2019-20.


  1. Many may find it a crowning glory, but Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) scientists think it’s just an acknowledgement long due.
  2. The US, which imposed sanctions on India, will take India’s help to launch one of its satellites soon.
  3. ISRO, at present, is gearing up for the launch of GSLV-Mark-II, probably around August 27.


What’s more?

Having successfully launched a Mars mission, India is planning a mission to Venus. Isro is also on the lookout for a launch pad outside Sriharikota, in Kulasekarapattinam in southern Tamil Nadu.

Isro to put US satellite in space for the first time


  1. ISRO will launch an American satellite using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.
  2. India has so far launched 45 satellites for 19 nations and another 28 foreign satellites will be launched in the next two years.
  3. Presently, ISRO is preparing to launch communication satellite from GSLV-Mark II.
  4. It is also testing the indigenously developed cryogenic engine for GSLV-Mark-III, which can carry satellites weighing up to four tonnes.
  5. Having successfully launched a Mars mission, India is planning a mission to Venus.

Satellite-based navigation system to benefit 50 airports in India

  1. GPS-Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system, will offer navigation over the country, the Bay of Bengal, South East Asia, Middle East and up to Africa.
  2. Benefits are improved efficiency, direct routes, increased fuel savings, approach with vertical guidance at runways, significant cost savings
  3. It bridges the gap in the coverage areas of the European Union’s EGNOS and Japan’s MSAS.

ISRO’s GAGAN to provide navigational support to Railways

  1. GAGAN is an indigenous navigational guide system developed by ISRO on the lines of GPS system of the US.
  2. Jointly developed by the ISRO and Airports Authority of India (AAI) with a view to assist aircraft in accurate landing.
  3. The GAGAN signal is being broadcast through 2 Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites.
  4. How will it aid railways?
    • Help provide safety at unmanned level crossings
    • Provide information on under stressed railway tracks – water clogging, dismantled tracks
    • Identifying routes when the rail cruises through mountaineous/ difficult regions

ISRO to test re-usable satellite launch vehicle

  1. This will help cut down the cost of satellite launches to “one-tenth” the present rates.
  2. Under the project, a plane will be flown into outer space at five times the speed of sound, deliver the payload and then land back like an aircraft.
  3. There are currently no reusable launch vehicles in operation anywhere.
  4. Also, an Android-based application ‘Sakaar’ has been launched, intended to give a real world environment to visualise ISRO projects such as Mars Mission.

ISRO mulls tie-up with industrial partners

ISRO successfully tests indigenous cryogenic engine

  1. This engine will allow launch vehicles to carry satellites of up to capacity of 4 tonnes in geostationary orbit.
  2. It will also give boost to India’s interplanetary probes and manned space missions.
  3. A cryogenic engine is more efficient as it provides more thrust for every kilogram of propellant burnt.
  4. Extremely clean as they give out only water while burning.
  5. The engine uses liquid oxygen at -2530C and liquid hydrogen at -1830C.

ISRO navigation satellite in orbit

  1. ISRO’s PSLV C-27 successfully launched Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) 1-D satellite into the intended orbit.
  2. IRNSS is a navigation system that will cover India, and also extend 1,500 kms from its boundaries.
  3. Will provide 2 kinds of services, Standard Positioning Services, which is available to all users, and an encrypted service that is provided only to authorized users.

ISRO to collaborate with other space agencies

  1. This was announced by Minister of State (MoS) in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh in the Lok Sabha.
  2. ISRO is having talks with space agencies of the USA, Russia and France to collaborate for inter-planetary explorations.
  3. India will acquire the knowledge to minimize the cost of launching complex missions and enhance the technological capabilities in spacecraft design.

ISRO pitches cost-effective fire-proofing technology

CASPOL, is a water-based ready-to-coat and easy-to-use flame-proof coating. Has excellent flame retardant, waterproofing, and thermal-control properties.

:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.

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