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

PAYLOADS OF GSAT-16

  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

DMC3

  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. vasista

    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

      Yes.

  9. Ankur Yarazarvi

    Spell check people. Spell check.

    1. Root

      Where?

      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…

  12. RAMKRIPAL YADAV

    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

Scientists map lunar water with data from Chandrayaan-1

Note4students

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.


News

 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

Back2basics

Chandrayan-1

  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

Note4students

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.


News

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

Note4students

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.’


News

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

Note4students

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


News

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

SourceImage

Note4students

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


News

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

Back2basics

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

Note4students:

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


Context:

  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

Back2Basics:

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

Note4Students:

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)


News:

  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
    geosynchronous
  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

Note4students:

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


Context:

  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
    MkIII-D1
  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
    design
  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

Back2basics:

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

Let’s know more about GSAT-18

  1. Designed to provide continuity of services on operational satellites in C-band, Extended C-band and Ku-bands
  2. Carries 48 communication transponders to provide Services in Normal C-band, Upper Extended C-band and Ku-bands of the frequency spectrum
  3. Ku-band beacon: To help in accurately pointing ground antennas towards the satellite
  4. Orbit: Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO)
  5. Operational life: About 15 years
  6. Launch mass: 3404 kg

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

Let’s know more about missions of India’s workhorse

  1. C-35 was the 15th flight of PSLV in ‘XL’ configuration with the use of solid strap-on motors
  2. The PSLV has so far launched 39 remote-sensing satellites of ISRO, including the Chandrayaan-1 of 2008 and the Mars mission of 2013-14
  3. It has also orbited 74 foreign commercial and university satellites in a global trend where the demand for its category of launch services is increasing

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

Let’s know more about PSLV

PSLV is capable of launching 1600 kg satellites in 620 km sun-synchronous polar orbit and 1050 kg satellite in geosynchronous transfer orbit.

  1. PSLV has 4 stages using solid and liquid propulsion systems alternately.
  2. The first stage is one of the largest solid propellant boosters in the world and carries 139 tonnes of propellant.
  3. So far, PSLV has launched 87 satellites.
  4. There are currently 3 operational versions of the PSLV —
  • Standard (PSLV)
  • Core-alone (PSLV-CA) without the six strap-on booster motors
  • PSLV-XL version, which carries more solid fuel in its strap-on motors than the standard version

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

About Chandrayaan-2 Rover

  1. It will have six wheels, made of aluminium, to move about on the lunar soil
  2. The wheels will interact in such a way that the rover does not sink
  3. The rover will move at a speed of two cm a second and it weighs 25kg
  4. Its lifetime on the moon is 14 earth days
  5. Two payloads: For analysing the soil’s chemical properties

About Chandrayaan-2 Mission

  1. A GSLV-Mk II vehicle will put Chandrayaan-2 with a lander and a rover into orbit in the first quarter of 2018
  2. Totally indigenous: The vehicle, the spacecraft, the lander and the rover are all made in India
  3. The orbiter (spacecraft), the lander and rover together will weigh 3,280 kg
  4. After the spacecraft is inserted into the lunar orbit, the lander with the rover inside it will separate and land softly on the moon’s surface

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

Learn about Cryogenic Engine

  1. A rocket engine which uses cryogenic propellant is called cryogenic engine
  2. Propellants: It uses Liquid Hydrogen as fuel at -253 degrees C and Liquid Oxygen at -193 degrees C as oxidizer
  3. This generates very high specific impulse with best performance index
  4. The thermal energy from cryogenic combustion is in the form of hot gases
  5. Hot gases expand and provide the thrust to carry the heavier payload

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

INSAT-3DR: Major users and coverage

  1. Major users: Indian Coast Guards, Airports Authority of India (AAI), Directorate General of Shipping, Defence Services and fishermen
  2. The Indian service region will cover a large part of the Indian Ocean
  3. Will also include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Tanzania for providing distress alert services

INSAT-3DR: Four payloads and multiple tasks

  1. Multi-spectral Imager: Generate images of the Earth from a geostationary altitude of 36,000 km every 26 minutes and provide information on parameters such as sea surface temperature, snow cover, cloud motion winds, among others
  2. 19 channel sounder: Provide information on the vertical profiles of temperature, humidity and integrated ozone
  3. Data Relay Transponder: Provide service continuity to ISRO’s previous meteorological missions
  4. Search and Rescue: Can pick up and relay alert signals originating from the distress beacons of maritime, aviation and land-based users to the Indian Mission Control Centre (INMCC)

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

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

Learn about GSAT-11

  1. About: 4-tonne geostationary communications satellite
  2. When? In 2009, Govt had approved the development of GSAT-11, which is touted to be one of the largest Indian communication satellite
  3. Mission Life: About 15 years
  4. Objective: Link all the towns and villages in country with quality high-speed Wi-Fi service, and also integrate internet and television services
  5. Satellite is currently under development at Department of Space and ISRO facilities

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
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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
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Popularity of ISRO’s GeoPortal Bhuvan

  1. Context: ISRO’s BHUVAN (www.bhuvan.nrsc.gov.in) 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
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What is Doppler Radar?

  1. Context: An observational tool for monitoring and predicting severe weather events, such as thunderstorms, hailstorms, cyclones and tornados within a radius of 300 km
  2. Gives information: about precipitation and wind velocity
  3. Helps in: Doppler weather radar system helps increase precision in weather forecasting.
  4. How it works? This radar uses the Doppler effect to produce velocity data about objects at a distance
  5. It does this by bouncing a microwave signal off a desired target and analyzing how the object’s motion has altered the frequency of the returned signal
  6. This variation gives direct and highly accurate measurements of the radial component of a target’s velocity relative to the radar

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

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

Let’s know about Spaceward Bound programme

  1. The Spaceward Bound is a NASA project that educates future space explorers and funds expeditions to places with extreme climate conditions.
  2. Objective – To train the next generation of space explorers.
  3. There have been expeditions to the deserts such in Atacama, Chile; Mojave, California; Arkaroola, Australia as well as the Arctic and Antarctica, organised since 2006.

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.

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.

Let’s know about Indian remote sensing (IRS) satellites?

  1. Program was launched to support the national economy in areas of agriculture, water resources, forestry and ecology, geology, marine fisheries and coastal management.
  2. Data from IRS satellites are used for resources survey and management under the National Natural Resources Management System (NNRMS).
  3. Currently 10 operational satellites in orbit includes, Resourcesat – 2, Cartosat – 2B, Oceansat – 2, Risat – 2, IMS – 1, Cartosat – 1.

Some Applications are –

  • Space Based Inputs for Decentralized Planning (SIS-DP)
  • National Urban Information System (NUIS)
  • ISRO Disaster Management Support Programme (ISRO-DMSP)
  • Preharvest crop area and production estimation of major crops.
  • Forest survey

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.
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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.

What is Hyperspectral Imaging?

  1. Hyperspectral images provide ample spectral information to identify and distinguish spectrally unique materials.
  2. This technology provides deeper insights into the type of material present, and finds its use in remote sensing technology.
  3. Hyperspectral images will have many applications in resource mgmt, agriculture, mineral exploration, and environmental monitoring.
  4. Spectroscopy is the study of light that is emitted by or reflected from materials and its variation in energy with wavelength.

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 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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