ISRO Scrubs Chandrayaan 2 Launch

Chandrayaan2 Vikram lander (Credit: ISRO)

ISRO scrubbed the launch of its Chandrayaan 2 lunar mission on Monday. The Indian space agency was not forthcoming about the cause of the problem with the GLSV Mk. III booster:

A technical snag was observed in launch vehicle system at one hour before the launch. As a measure of abundant precaution Chandrayaan-2 launch has been called off for today. Revised launch date will be announced later.

NDTV reported: “Sources said the snag was in the cryogenic stage or last stage of the rocket before it separates.” NDTV did not provide additional details.

India’s second lunar flight is the nation’s most ambitious space exploration mission ever. Chandrayaan 2 consists of an orbiter, a lander and a rover. The orbit is scheduled to function for at least one year. The lander and rover will last one lunar day (about Earth 14 days).

India Aims for the Moon on Monday in Nation’s Most Ambitious Space Mission Yet

Chandrayaan 2 in Earth orbit with lander on top and orbiter on the bottom. (Credit: ISRO)

UPDATE: The launch was scrubbed due to a technical problem with the booster. ISRO has not announced a new launch date yet.

India is aiming for the moon for the second time with the most ambitious space mission the nation has ever attempted. On Monday, the GSLV-Mk III booster is set to launch the Chandrayaan 2 mission, which includes an orbiter, lander and rover.

Live coverage begins on the ISRO website on Monday, July 15 at 02:30 hrs (Sunday, July 14 at 2100 UTC/5 pm EDT/2 pm PDT).

Below are details taken from the ISRO Chandrayaan 2 mission kit.

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ISRO, Glavkosmos Sign Agreement for Training Indian Astronauts

MOSCOW (Glavkosmos PR) — On June 27, 2019, First deputy Director General of Glavkosmos (part of Roscosmos State Corporation) Natalia Lokteva and Director of Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)Dr. S.Unnikrishnan Nair signed a contract for selection support, medical examination and space training of Indian astronauts.

Glavkosmos will render to HSFC services on consulting support of selection of candidates for the Indian astronauts, providing medical examination of the candidates for access to space flight related training program and providing space flight related training for the Indian astronauts selected on the basis of the medical examination.

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India Eyes Space Station in Earth Orbit

Dr. K Sivan (Credit: ISRO)

ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said this week the Indian space agency plans to develop a small space station that would give the nation’s Gaganyaan crewed spacecraft a facility to dock with in low Earth orbit.

Elucidating on the space station project, Mr Sivan said the mission will also be an extension of the Gaganyaan project. “We are planning to have a separate space station. We will not be a part of the ISS. Our space station is going to be very small. We will be launching a small module and that will be used for carrying out microgravity experiments,” he told the media.

“We have to sustain the Gaganyaan programme. So, subsequently, as a long-term plan, we are planning to have the space station in India. We are going to join the international community in manned missions to the moon, asteroids. We have a clear plan for the space programme,” the senior scientist said.

By planning a space station, Isro is “not thinking of space tourism”, he said. The Isro chairman said the proposal will be sent to the government for approval after the first Gaganyaan mission by 2022, and it is looking at a timeframe of five to seven years for the programme’s execution. He did not elaborate on the cost of the proposed Indian space station.

The timetable would have the 20 metric ton Indian space station in orbit between 2027 and 2029.











ISRO Holds First Gaganyaan National Advisory Council Meeting

BENGALURU, India (ISRO PR) — Today, June 8, 2019, the first meeting of Gaganyaan National Advisory Council was held at ISRO Headquarters, Bengaluru chaired by Dr. K Sivan, Secretary, Department of Space.

The meeting was attended by Dr K Kasturirangan, Honorary Distinguished Advisor, ISRO, Prof K VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor to Government of India,Dr B N Suresh, Honorary Distinguished Professor, ISRO, Prof  Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary Defence R&D, Chairman, DRDO, Dr Shekhar C Mande, Secretary DSIR, Director General, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Prof Anurag Kumar, Director, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Shri R Madhavan, Chairman and Managing Director, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., Wing Cdr. (Rtd) Rakesh Sharma, Former Indian Astronaut, Air Vice Marshal R G K Kapoor, Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Space), Rear Admiral D S Gujarl, Asst Chief of Naval Staff, Indian Navy, Inspector General KR Suresh TM, Deputy Director General (Operations and Coastal Security) Indian Coast Guard.

During the meeting, Dr Unnikrishnan Nair, Director, Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC), ISRO, made a presentation on the overall project status of Gaganyaan, covering technical details as well as collaboration with various national stake holders.

The council deliberated in detail on various aspects of Gaganyaan and appreciated the efforts made in this regard in the fast track mode and Institutional mechanisms put in place by ISRO.  It stressed the need for setting priorities at various National Institutions including Industries to accomplish Gaganyaan.  Many essential aspects of Gaganyaan, especially the life support systems and crew selection and training, were discussed in detail.  In the end, the council emphasised the urgent need for further accelerating the efforts to realise Gaganyaan in a very demanding time frame of December 2021 amidst formidable challenges.











ISRO Establishes 3rd Space Tech Incubation Center at NIT-Tiruchirappalli

TIRUCHIRAPPALLI, India (ISRO) — On May 29, 2019, ISRO set-up the third Space Technology Incubation Centre (S-TIC) at NIT- Tiruchirappalli to encourage start-ups and entrepreneurship among student community and to develop Academia–Industry ecosystem for Space Technology in the country.

Dr. K. Sivan, Chairman – ISRO / Secretary – DOS inaugurated the S-TIC at NIT- Tiruchirappalli remotely from Bangalore and addressed the audience through videoconference.

Describing the role of ISRO for the multidimensional welfare of the people, Dr. Sivan envisaged the broad participation of academic institutions to come forward and contribute towards the continual growth of the Indian Space Programme.

This S-TIC at NIT- Tiruchirappalli will cover the entire southern region of our country (comprising of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Tamilnadu and Telangana) and take a lead role towards its objectives.

Prof.  Mini Shaji Thomas – Director, NIT-Trichy and Dr. P.V. Venkitakrishnan, Director, Capacity Building Programme Office, ISRO-HQ signed and exchanged the MoU.

Dr. M. Umapathy, Dean (R & C), NIT-T and Jiwan Kumar Pandit, Associate Director, CBPO, ISRO-HQ thanked all the participants from various academic institutions and industry representatives from CII, BHEL and Tiruchirappalli district for their active participation.

The first and second such centres are already functioning at NIT-Agartala and NIT-Jalandhar for North-eastern and North region of our country respectively.











India Launches RISAT-2B Radar Imaging Satellite

PSLV booster lifts off with the RISAT-2B satellite aboard. (Credit: ISRO)

Sriharikota, India (ISRO PR) — India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C46) today successfully launched RISAT-2B satellite from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. This was the 72nd launch vehicle mission from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota and 36th launch from the First Launch pad.

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Blink Astro Announces Successful Launch of Its First Hosted Custom Radio Payload

ATLANTA, April 2, 2019 (Blink Astro PR) — Blink Astro® (Blink®) is pleased to announce the successful launch of our custom radio payload hosted on the NanoAvionics’ M6P 6U spacecraft using the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) PSLV-C45 launch vehicle. The launch took place at 11:57 pm EDT on March 31, 2019 from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre. Preliminary communications have been established with the M6P host spacecraft.

“The culmination of three years of diligent engineering design work from a very talented team has led us to this great milestone, and we are very excited to perform live field tests with our satellite IoT solution,” said Darshan Shah, Blink’s Program Manager.

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Spaceflight Prepares to Send 21 Rideshare Satellites Aboard PSLV C45

PSLV rocket (Credit: ISRO)

SEATTLE, March 26, 2019 (Spaceflight PR)Spaceflight, the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, today announced it will launch 21 spacecraft on a rideshare mission from India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) at India’s Satish Dhawan Space Center.

The launch is scheduled for Mon., April 1, 2019 Indian Standard Time (Sun., March 31 PDT). Payloads aboard the mission include the Astrocast-02 3U cubesat from Switzerland-based Astrocast and Flock 4a, 20 next-generation Dove satellites from Planet.

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ISRO Opens Human Space Flight Centre

BENGALURU, India (ISRO PR) — Dr. K Kasturirangan, Former Chairman, ISRO in the presence of Dr. K Sivan, Secretary, DOS/Chairman, ISRO, inaugurated Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) today (30th Jan’2019) at ISRO Headquarter campus in Bengaluru. Directors of other ISRO Centres, former Chairman and other dignitaries were also present during this event. A full scale model of GAGANYAAN’s crew module was also unveiled during this event.

HSFC shall be responsible for implementation of GAGANYAAN Project which involves end-to-end mission planning, development of Engineering systems for crew survival in space, crew selection & training and also pursue activities for sustained human space flight missions. HSFC will take support of the existing ISRO Centres to implement , the first development flight of GAGANYAAN under Human Space Flight Programme. Dr. S Unnikrishnan Nair is the founder Director of HSFC and Shri R Hutton is the Project Director of GAGANYAAN project.











PSLV Launches Imaging Satellite into Orbit

PSLV-C37 booster (Credit: ISRO)

SRIHARIKOTA, India (ISRO PR) — PSLV-C44 successfully launched Microsat-R on January 24, 2019 at 23:37 hrs (IST) from the First Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. Microsat-R, an imaging satellite was injected into sun synchronous polar orbit.

The flight included the use of the booster’s spent stage as a platform for carrying out technology demonstrations. The student-built Kalamsat is using the stage for the demonstration.

PSLV-C44 is the 46th flight of India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the first flight of PSLV-DL (with 2 strap-ons) variant.











Suborbital Flights Stopped Being So Humdrum in 2018

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo’s first flight above 50 miles on Dec. 13, 2018. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Part 1 of 2

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Throughout the Space Age, suborbital flight has been the least exciting segment of the launch market. Operating in the shadow of their much larger orbital cousins, sounding rockets carrying scientific instruments, microgravity experiments and technology demonstrations have flown to the fringes of space with little fanfare or media attention.

The suborbital sector has become much more dynamic in recent years now that billionaires have started spending money in it. Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic both made significant progress last year in testing New Shepard and SpaceShipTwo, respectively. Their achievements have raised the real possibility of suborbital space tourism flights in 2019. (I know. Promises, promises…. But, this year they might finally really do it. I think.)

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ISRO Chairman Lauds 2018 Successes, Lays Out Ambitious Plan for Future

Dr. K Sivan (Credit: ISRO)

2018 : A Year of many ‘firsts’ and ‘beginnings’

by Dr. K Sivan
ISRO Chairman

New Year is the best time to celebrate what we have accomplished and determine what direction we want to head. The year 2018 was a year of many ‘firsts’ and ‘beginnings’ with profound growth in all directions! This year, ISRO completed 16 missions, signing off with 7 successful missions within 35 days. This included two successful GSLV missions in a single year. GSLV Mk-III completed its development flights and has entered the operational arena. GSAT-29, the heaviest satellite launched from Indian soil and GSAT-11, the heaviest satellite built by ISRO, are the two hallmark achievements this year. The national confidence in ISRO is reflected in the highest ever allocation of about Rs 30000 Crore for 23 new and continuation programmes in a single year.

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India Legislation Would Open Space to Commercial Activities

The Indian government is looking to pass legislation next year that will allow for commercial use of space, the Hindustan Times reports.

After the draft of the bill was put in the public domain in November 2017, the government received 52 responses, of which 15 were from the general public. The rest were from the Indian aerospace industry and start-ups, law firms or lawyers, space experts and scholars, and satellite communication companies.

“Responses fall broadly under the category of seeking clarifications and suggestions on certain provisions, such as scope of space activities, regulatory mechanism, licencing and authorisation procedures, sharing of liability burden with a limit on damage costs, penal provisions, powers of Central Government, etc,.” the reply stated….

“This is much needed and much awaited. Allowing commercial use will increase the domestic capacity for launches. ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) is already hard pressed given the growing demand for communication, disaster management and several other national priority areas,” said Rajeswari Rajagopalan, head of the nuclear and space policy initiative at the Observer Research Foundation.