[Prelims Spotlight] Isro Missions

1.RISAT-2B: An all-seeing radar imaging satellite

  • he PSLV-C46 is set to launch RISAT-2B from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

RISAT Constellation

  • RISAT-2B, short for “Radar Imaging Satellite-2B”, is the second in a series of satellites used to observe weather conditions on Earth using radar imagery.
  • RISAT-2 was the first satellite in the series, launched for the purpose of surveillance. RISAT-1 was launched later, to become India’s first all-weather radar imaging satellite.
  • RISAT-2B is to be followed by RISAT-2BR1, 2BR2, RISAT-1A, 1B, 2A and so on.
  • ISRO orbited its first two radar satellites in 2009 & 2012 and it plans to deploy four or five of them in 2019 alone.
  • A constellation of such space-based radars means a comprehensive vigil over the country.
  • Once operational, the satellite will be capable of monitoring weather day and night, in all weather conditions.

2.Phase 4 of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)

  • The Union Cabinet has approved ongoing GSLV continuation programme Phase-4 consisting of five GSLV flights during the period 2021-2024.
  • The will enable the launch of 2 tonne class of satellites for Geo-imaging, Navigation, Data Relay Communication and Space Sciences.
  • It will meet the demand for the launch of satellites at a frequency up to two launches per year, with maximal participation by the Indian industry.

About GSLV

  • GSLV Continuation Programme was initially sanctioned in 2003, and two phases have been completed and the third phase is in progress and expected to be completed by Q4 of 2020-21.
  • GSLV has enabled independent access to space for 2 tonne class of satellites to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
  • One of the significant outcomes of the GSLV Continuation Programme is the mastering of the highly complex cryogenic propulsion technology, which is an essential technological capability to launch communication satellites to GTO.
  • This has also paved the way for the development of a high thrust Cryogenic engine & stage for the next generation launch vehicle i.e. GSLV Mk-lll.
  • With the recent successful launch of GSLV-F11 on 19th December 2018, GSLV has successfully orbited 10 national satellites.
  • GSLV with the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage has established itself as a reliable launch vehicle for communication, navigation and meteorological satellites and also to undertake future interplanetary missions.

3.Mission Shakti (Anti-Satellite Missile Test)

  • In an incremental advance, India has successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile test, named Mission Shakti.
  • India becomes the fourth country in the world to demonstrate the capability to shoot down satellites in orbit.
  • So far, only the United States, Russia and China have this prowess.

Mission Shakti

  • While Mission Shakti may have targeted an object in outer space, India has long developed the ability to intercept incoming missiles.
  • In 2011, a modified Prithvi missile mimicked the trajectory of a ballistic missile with a 600-km range.
  • The DRDO-developed Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Interceptor Missile successfully engaged an Indian orbiting target satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in a ‘Hit to Kill’ mode.
  • The interceptor missile was a three-stage missile with two solid rocket boosters.

4.Young Scientist Programme (YUVIKA)

Young Scientist Programme

  • ISRO has launched a special programme for School Children called “Young Scientist Programme” “YUva VIgyani KAryakram from this year.
  • The Program is primarily aimed at imparting basic knowledge on Space Technology, Space Science and Space Applications to the younger ones with the intent of arousing their interest in the emerging areas of Space activities.
  • The residential training programme will be of around two weeks duration during summer holidays and it is proposed to select 3 students each from each State/ UTs to participate in this programme covering state, CBSE, and ICSE syllabus.
  • Those who have just finished 9th standard (in the academic year 2018-19) and waiting to join 10th standard (or those who have started 10th Std just now) will be eligible for the programme.
  • The selection will be based on the 8th Std marks.
  • Students belonging to the rural area have been given special weightage in the selection criteria.

5.PSLV-C45/ Emisat Mission

  • For the sheer number of ‘firsts’ to its credit, the scheduled PSLV-C45/Emisat mission scheduled will be a memorable one for the ISRO.

PSLV-C45/Emisat

  • C-45, which is set for lift-off from the second launchpad at Sriharikota, will mark the 47th flight of the PSLV.
  • It is meant for electromagnetic spectrum measurements, according to the ISRO.
  • It will be released into an orbit at 749 km.
  • EMISAT is primarily based on on the famous Israeli spy satellite called SARAL or (Satellite with ARgos and ALtika), and inherits its SSB-2 bus protocol for conducting sharp electronic surveillance across the length and breadth of India.
  • The satellite would serve as the country’s roving device for detecting and gathering electronic intelligence from enemy radars across the borders as it circles the globe roughly pole to pole every 90 minutes or so.
  • For the third successive PSLV mission, the ISRO plans to reuse the rocket’s spent fourth stage or PS4 to host short experiments.

6.ISRO, French agency to set up maritime surveillance system

  • ISRO and its French counterpart CNES has sealed an agreement to set up a joint maritime surveillance system in the country.
  • The two nations will explore putting up a constellation of low-Earth orbiting satellites.

Oceansat-3-Argos Mission

  • The system will be augmented with the launch of Oceansat-3-Argos mission in 2020 along with a joint infrared Earth-observation satellite.
  • These will identify and track movement of ships globally – and in particular those moving in the Indian Ocean region where France has its Reunion Islands.
  • Before that, they will initially share data from their present space systems and develop new algorithms to analyse them, according to the Paris based National Centre for Space Studies.
  • They work together for the design and development of joint products and techniques, including those involving Automatic Identification System (AIS), to monitor and protect the assets in land and sea.

7. Use of Space Technology in Agriculture Sector

  • The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, has been pro-active in using the space technology in agricultural sector. Take a look of various initiative in the aid of farmers:

Various institutional measures

  1. The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare established a Centre, called Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre, in 2012.
  2. It works for operationalization of the space technology developed in the Indian Space Research Organization, for crop production forecasting.
  3. The Soil and Land Use Survey of India uses satellite data for soil resources mapping.

8.India’s communication satellite GSAT-31 launched successfully

GSAT-31

  1. It was launched in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 250 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 35,850 km, inclined at an angle of 3.0 degree to the equator.
  2. With a lift-off mass of 2536 kg, GSAT-31 will augment the Ku-band transponder capacity in Geostationary Orbit.
  3. The satellite will provide continuity to operational services on some of the in-orbit satellites.
  4. GSAT-31 will provide DTH Television Services, connectivity to VSATs for ATM, Stock-exchange, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) and e-governance applications.
  5. The satellite will also be used for bulk data transfer for a host of emerging telecommunication applications.
  6. It is the India’s 40th communication satellite which is configured on ISRO’s enhanced ‘I-2K Bus’, utilising the maximum “bus capabilities” of this type.

9.ISRO launches Human Space Flight Centre in Bengaluru

Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC)

  1. The HSFC, the hub of ISRO’s future manned missions, was inaugurated at ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru.
  2. Announced on August 15 2018, the country’s first crewed mission is set to happen by 2022, the 75th year of Independence.
  3. HSFC shall be responsible for the implementation of Gaganyaan project — which involves mission planning, development of engineering systems for crew survival in space, crew selection and training and also pursue activities for sustained human space flight missions.
  4. HSFC will take the support of ISRO centres to implement the first developmental [crewed] flight.

10.ISRO’s first mission of 2019 to put military satellite Microsat-R in space

  • ISRO’s first mission of 2019 will put into space a 130-kg military imaging satellite, Microsat-R.
  • C-44 will be launched from the older First Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.

 Details of Launch

  1. The satellite would be placed within 15 minutes after take-off in a polar orbit 274 km away from Earth.
  2. This is much lower than any of its civil Earth observation spacecraft, which fly pole to pole over the globe at between 400 km and 700 km.

Payload Details

Microsat-R

  1. Microsat-R and its payload come assembled from a handful of laboratories of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  2. It is meant for military use.
  3. The satellite was assembled outside and ISRO only interfaced it” with its own systems and the launch vehicle, just as it treats any customer satellite.

11.Unispace Nanosatellite Assembly & Training Programme of ISRO

NNATI Programme

  1. It is a capacity building programme on Nanosatellite development.
  2. It is an initiative by ISRO to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first United Nations conference on the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space (UNISPACE-50).
  3. The programme provides opportunities to the participating developing countries to strengthen in assembling, integrating and testing of Nanosatellite.
  4. UNNATI programme is planned to be conducted for 3 years by U.R. Rao Satellite Centre of ISRO in 3 batches and will target to benefit officials of 45 countries.

About UNISPACE+50

  1. It is an event marking the 50th year of the first UN Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
  2. It is an initiative of United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).
  3. Three such conferences held earlier recognized the potential of space and laid the guidelines for human activities and international cooperation related to outer space.

11.ISRO successfully launches hyperspectral imaging satellite HysIS

HysIS

  1. HysIS stands for Hyper Spectral Imaging Satellite.
  2. The objective of the probe is to provide observations within the visible, near infrared and shortwave infrared bands of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  3. The imaging tools will help the HysIS satellite monitor atmospheric activity and climate change, while also assisting studies of Earth’s magnetic field.
  4. These observations will have a host of applications, prime among which relate to agriculture, forestry, water management, and coastal patterns.
  5. The satellite’s payload also consists of a 730W power backup, and a 64Ah Li-ion battery.
  6. It will continue to make observations till 2023, when the mission ends.
  7. After this launch, the next big event for the Indian space organisation will be its awaited mission to the moon – Chandrayaan-2 – in early 2019.

12.GROWTH-India telescope’s first science observation

GROWTH-India Telescope

  1. The GROWTH-India telescope was commissioned six months ago soon after which it saw first light, on the night of June 12.
  2. It is part of a multi-country collaborative initiative – known as the Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH) – to observe transient events in the universe.
  3. The fully robotic telescope is designed to capture cosmic events occurring over relatively shorter periods of the cosmological timescale: years, days and even hours.
  4. Universities and research institutes from the US, the UK, Japan, India, Germany, Taiwan and Israel are part of the initiative.
  5. Their primary research objective is time-domain astronomy, which entails the study of explosive transients and variable sources (of light and other radiation) in the universe.

13.ISRO telemedicine nodes for soldiers in high-altitude areas

Telemedicine Nodes by ISRO

  1. In a major effort to improve emergency medical support to soldiers posted in high-altitude areas, especially Siachen, the Integrated Defence Staff of the Defence Ministry and the ISRO signed a MoU to set up telemedicine nodes in critical places across the country.
  2. ISRO will establish 53 more nodes in the first phase over and above the existing 20, in various establishments of the Army, Navy and Air Force across the country.

14.Chandrayaan-1 data confirms presence of ice on Moon: NASA

NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) is testimony

  1. M3, aboard the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, launched in 2008 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), was uniquely equipped to confirm the presence of solid ice on the Moon.
  2. Scientists used data from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument to identify three specific signatures that definitively prove there is water ice at the surface of the Moon.
  3. It collected data that not only picked up the reflective properties we would expect from ice, but was also able to directly measure the distinctive way its molecules absorb infrared light, so it can differentiate between liquid water or vapour and solid ice.
  4. Most of the new-found water ice lies in the shadows of craters near the poles, where the warmest temperatures never reach above minus 156 degrees Celsius.
  5. Due to the very small tilt of the Moon’s rotation axis, sunlight never reaches these regions.

15.ISRO set to launch its TV channel

  1. The ISRO is all set for a year-long Vikram Sarabhai centenary celebration starting in August 2019 to honour the visionary scientist and its legendary founding father.
  2. In a few months’ time, it plans to roll out a dedicated ISRO TV channel showcasing space applications, developments and science issues, targeting young viewers and people in remote areas in their language.

Satellite launches now open to public

  1. As it strengthens its public outreach, ISRO will shortly start allowing the public to watch satellite launches from its Sriharikota launch centre.
  2. Selected students of classes 8 to 10 will be the trained at ISRO for a month and taken to various laboratories and centres across the country.

Vikram Sarabhai- the legend

  1. Sarabhai, the architect of the Indian space programme, the first ISRO chief and renowned cosmic ray scientist, was born on August 12, 1919.
  2. ISRO’s tributes to Sarabhai start with naming the first Indian moon landing spacecraft of the Chandrayaan-2 mission ‘Vikram’.
  3. Sarabhai was only 28 when he sowed the seeds of a space agency around the late 1940s and 1950s.

16.Upgraded Vikas engine will soon boost ISRO’s rockets

Adding more thrust

  1. The Vikas engine will improve the payload capability of PSLV, GSLV and GSLV Mk-III launch vehicles.
  2. The space agency has improved the thrust of the Vikas engine that powers all of them.

Main beneficiary: GSLV Mk III

  1. The main beneficiary of the high-thrust Vikas engine is said to be the heavy-lifting GSLV-Mark III launcher, which ISRO expects will now put 4,000-kg satellites to space.
  2. This would be the third Mk-III and the first working one to be designated Mk III Mission-1 or M1.
  3. The first MkIII of June 2017 started with a 3,200-kg satellite and the second one is being readied for lifting a 3,500-kg spacecraft.
  4. The Vikas engine is used in the second stage of the light lifting PSLV; the second stage and the four add-on stages of the medium-lift GSLV; and the twin-engine core liquid stage of Mk-III.

17.ISRO’s PRL scientists discover an ‘EPIC’ planet

India in elite planet-spotting club

  1. A team from the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, has spotted for the first time a distant planet six times bigger than Earth and revolving around a Sun-like star about 600 light years away.
  2. EPIC 211945201b (or K2-236b) is the name given to the planet by the discovery team. The host star is named EPIC 211945201 or K2-236.
  3. With this discovery India has joined a handful of countries which have discovered planets around stars,” PRL’s parent ISRO has announced.
  4. The discovery was made using a PRL-designed spectrograph, PARAS, to measure and confirm the mass of the new planet.

About EPIC

  1. EPIC was found circling very close to the Sun-like star, going around it once in about 19.5 days and unlikely to be inhabitable because of its high surface temperature of around 600°C.
  2. The team found the planet to be smaller in size than Saturn and bigger than Neptune.
  3. Its mass is about 27 times Earth’s and six times that of Earth at radius.
  4. The scientists estimate that over 60% of its mass could be made up of heavy elements like ice, silicates and iron.

 

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