ISRO Tests GSLV Mark III Cryogenic Upper Stage

GSLV Mark III upper stage engine test. Credit: ISRO

MAHENDRAGIRI, India (ISRO PR) — The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully tested its indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) for GSLV MkIII on February 17, 2017. The cryogenic stage designated as C25 was tested for a flight duration of 640 seconds at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) in Mahendragiri. C25 Stage had earlier been tested successfully for 50 seconds on January 25, 2017 to validate all the systems.

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ISRO’s PSLV Lofts 104 Satellites Into Orbit


SRIHARIKOTA, India (ISRO PR) — In its thirty ninth flight (PSLV-C37), ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle successfully launched the 714 kg Cartosat-2 Series Satellite along with 103 co-passenger satellites today morning (February 15, 2017) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. This is the thirty eighth consecutively successful mission of PSLV. The total weight of all the 104 satellites carried on-board PSLV-C37 was 1378 kg.

PSLV-C37 lifted off at 0928 hrs (9:28 am) IST, as planned, from the First Launch Pad. After a flight of 16 minutes 48 seconds, the satellites achieved a polar Sun Synchronous Orbit of 506 km inclined at an angle of 97.46 degree to the equator (very close to the intended orbit) and in the succeeding 12 minutes, all the 104 satellites successfully separated from the PSLV fourth stage in a predetermined sequence beginning with Cartosat-2 series satellite, followed by INS-1 and INS-2. The total number of Indian satellites launched by PSLV now stands at 46.

After separation, the two solar arrays of Cartosat-2 series satellite were deployed automatically and ISRO’s Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bangalore took over the control of the satellite. In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration following which it will begin to provide remote sensing services using its panchromatic (black and white) and multispectral (colour) cameras.

Of the 103 co-passenger satellites carried by PSLV-C37, two – ISRO Nano Satellite-1 (INS-1) weighing 8.4 kg and INS-2 weighing 9.7 kg – are technology demonstration satellites from India.

The remaining 101 co-passenger satellites carried were international customer satellites from USA (96), The Netherlands (1), Switzerland (1), Israel (1), Kazakhstan (1) and UAE (1).

With today’s successful launch, the total number of customer satellites from abroad launched by India’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV has reached 180.

ISRO’s PSLV Set to Launch Record 104 Satellites

PSLV-C37 booster (Credit: ISRO)

SRIHARIKOTA, India (ISRO PR) — India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its thirty ninth flight (PSLV-C37), will launch the 714 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation and 103 co-passenger satellites together weighing about 664 kg at lift-off into a 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO). PSLV-C37 will be launched from the First Launch Pad (FLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. It will be the sixteenth flight of PSLV in ‘XL’ configuration (with the use of solid strap-on motors).

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High Altitude Flight Acceptance Test of CE20 Engine Conducted Successfully

CE20 flight engine for GSLV MKIII (LVM3)-D1 mission. (Credit: ISRO)
CE20 flight engine for GSLV MKIII (LVM3)-D1 mission. (Credit: ISRO)

MAHENDRAGIRI, India (ISRO PR) — GSLV MKIII, the future launch vehicle of ISRO, capable of launching 4-ton class spacecraft into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) is in the advanced stage of realisation. It consists of two solid strap-on (S200) motors, one earth storable liquid core stage (L110) and the indigenously developed C25 cryogenic stage. The C25 stage is powered by CE20 cryogenic engine.

The first CE20 flight engine acceptance test was successfully conducted for a duration of 25 seconds in high altitude simulation test facility during December 2016. This flight acceptance test is an important milestone for ISRO as it could successfully cross the major engine development endeavors in the maiden attempt. This engine was conceived, configured, designed, fabricated and developed by Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC).

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Arianespace Signed 13 Launch Contracts in Past Year

Flight VS13 was the 13th Soyuz liftoff performed from French Guiana since this vehicle’s 2011 introduction at the Spaceport. (Credit: Arianespace)
Flight VS13 was the 13th Soyuz liftoff performed from French Guiana since this vehicle’s 2011 introduction at the Spaceport. (Credit: Arianespace)

While Elon Musk and SpaceX have been dominating the media spotlight with their spectacular Falcon 9 first-stage landings and even more spectacular launch pad firexplanomaly, Arianespace has quietly went about the task of putting satellites into orbit and signing new launch contracts.

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The Year in Suborbital Launches

The New Shepard capsule separates from its booster as the abort motor fires. (Credit: Blue Origin)
The New Shepard capsule separates from its booster as the abort motor fires. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Although orbital launch vehicles get all the glory (and infamy when they fail), 2016 was also a busy year for the far less glamorous suborbital launch sector. There were 19 suborbital launches at various sites around the world, and two more sounding rocket launches of note where the payload didn’t go above 100 km.
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ISRO Signs Deal for Privately Built Satellite

ISRO_logoIn a move toward privatization, ISRO has signed a deal with a consortium of six companies to deliver India’s first industry-built satellite.

The contract signed on Friday includes assembly, integration and testing (AIT) of two spare navigation satellites consecutively in around 18 months. It was signed between M. Annadurai, Director of ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC), and the consortium lead, Alpha Design Technologies P Ltd. ISAC assembles the country’s satellites for communication, remote sensing and navigation.

From the third year, Indian industry could expect competitive bids for a new lot of spacecraft of 300-500-kg class, perhaps five a year, for both ISRO and for export, Col. H.S. Shankar (retd), CMD of Alpha Design, told The Hindu. This is the first time that ISRO has outsourced an entire satellite to industry, said Col. Shankar .

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Smith, Babin Examine Policy Governing Indian Launch Vehicles

Lamar Smith
Lamar Smith

WASHINGTON (House Science Committee PR) – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) yesterday sent letters to four senior officials following up on requests for information about the current U.S. policy governing the export of U.S. commercial satellites for launch on Indian launch vehicles.

On July 6 Chairmen Smith and Babin wrote Director of Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren, Secretary of State John Kerry, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman, and U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, seeking this information.

Yesterday’s letters reiterate requests for a briefing and documentation on the current U.S. policy. The letters can be found here.

PSLV-C35 Successfully Launches Eight Satellites into Two Different Orbits

PSLV-C35 launch (Credit: ISRO)
PSLV-C35 launch (Credit: ISRO)

BANGALORE (ISRO PR) — In its thirty seventh flight (PSLV-C35), ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle successfully launched the 371 kg SCATSAT-1 Satellite along with seven co-passenger satellites today morning (September 26, 2016) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. This is the thirty sixth consecutively successful mission of PSLV. The total weight of all the eight satellites carried on-board PSLV-C35 was 675 kg. PSLV-C35 is the first PSLV mission to launch satellites carried onboard into two different orbits. This PSLV mission was the longest of the PSLV missions conducted till date and was completed in 2 hours 15 minutes and 33 seconds after lift-off.

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Spaceflight Industries Successfully Launches BlackSky Pathfinder Satellite

PSLV-C35 launch (Credit: ISRO)
PSLV-C35 launch (Credit: ISRO)

SEATTLE, Sept. 26, 2016 (Spaceflight Industries PR) – Spaceflight Industries, a next-generation space company enabling access to space and redefining global intelligence, announced the successful launch of its BlackSky Pathfinder-1 satellite into a sun synchronous orbit from India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). From Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India, liftoff occurred on Sunday Sept. 25 at 11:42 p.m. EDT with the satellite separating from the rocket’s upper stage at 1:57 a.m. EDT Monday.

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India to Launch 68 Smallsats

PSLV rocket lifts off with India's Mars Orbiter Mission. (Credit: ISRO)
PSLV rocket lifts off with India’s Mars Orbiter Mission. (Credit: ISRO)

India’s launch services are attracting more customers:

Antrix, the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is planning to send into orbit 68 small satellites from countries across the world early next year.

“These 68 small satellites will be riding on our workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in the next six months,” said S Rakesh, chairman and managing director of Antrix, while announcing the 5th edition of Bengaluru Space Expo (BSX-2016).

“Antrix has been attracting the world’s attention for low-cost and flawless launch capabilities of satellites,” he added.

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ISRO Successfully Tests Scramjet

Credit: ISRO
Credit: ISRO

BANGALORE, India (ISRO PR) — An important development in ISRO’s Air Breathing Propulsion Project (ABPP) occurred on August 28, 2016, which was the successful flight testing of its Scramjet.

This first experimental mission of ISRO’s Scramjet Engine towards the realisation of an Air Breathing Propulsion System was successfully conducted from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota.

After a smooth countdown of 12 hours, the solid rocket booster carrying the Scramjet Engines lifted off at 0600 hrs (6:00 am) IST.  The important flight events, namely, burn out of booster rocket stage, ignition of second stage solid rocket, functioning of Scramjet engines for 5 seconds followed by burn out of the second stage took place exactly as planned.

After a flight of about 300 seconds, the vehicle touched down in the Bay of Bengal, approximately 320 km from Sriharikota. The vehicle was successfully tracked during its flight from the ground stations at Sriharikota.

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GLXP Update: TeamIndus Announces Lab2Moon Global Youth Challenge

The moon rising over Half Moon Bay, California on Halloween 2009. (Credit: Douglas Messier)
The moon rising over Half Moon Bay, California on Halloween 2009. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

BANGALORE, India (TeamIndus PR) — TeamIndus, an Indian aerospace startup and one of the front-runners for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, today announced an international jury for Lab2Moon, a competition to challenge the brightest young minds globally to think beyond our planet and create an experiment to fly on board the TeamIndus spacecraft to the Moon in 2017.

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House Science Committee Wants Answers on Indian Launch Vehicle Policy

Lamar Smith
Lamar Smith

WASHINGTON –  Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) today sent letters to four senior officials requesting information about the current U.S. policy governing the export of U.S. commercial satellites for launch on Indian launch vehicles.

Today’s letters, which were sent to Director of Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren, Secretary of State John Kerry, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman, and U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, follows India’s recent membership into the Missile Technology Control Regime and conflicting reports as to the legal authority for promulgating the policy and administrative processes for implementing the policy.

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PSLV Upper Stage Engines Successfully Restarted in Space

pslvlunar
BANGALORE, India (ISRO PR) — ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C34) accomplished its 35th consecutive successful flight with the launch of 20 satellites in a single mission recently on June 22, 2016. Another landmark achievement of this mission was the successful restart of its upper stage liquid engines (PS4). This has demonstrated and validated the upper stage systems for the upcoming PSLV missions to enable injection of satellites into multiple orbits.

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