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.)
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.
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.
The Indian government has approved the expenditure of RS 10,000 crore ($1.43 billion) to launch the nation’s first human space mission by 2022, according to media reports.
Plans call for the a three-member crew to spend seven days in Earth orbit after being launched by a GSLV Mk. III booster. The flight, currently set for December 2021, will be preceded by two flight tests without a crew, officials say.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi set a deadline to launch the mission within four years in an Independence Day speech in August.
India would become the fourth nation after the Soviet Union, United States and China to launch astronauts into orbit.
December 19, 2018 – Washington, DC — NanoRacks is excited to announce that the Company has signed its first customer contract for a small satellite rideshare on the India Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Spire, a long-time customer of NanoRacks, has signed to fly four of their Lemur 3U CubeSats, targeting a March 2019 flight.
SRIHARIKOTA, India (ISRO PR) — Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F11) successfully launched the communication satellite GSAT-7A from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota today.
The GSLV-F11 lifted off from the Second Launch Pad at SDSC at 04:10 pm IST, carrying 2250 kg GSAT-7A and about 19 minutes later, injected GSAT-7A into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) of 170.8 km x 39127 km which is very close to the intended orbit.
India and Russia will strengthen cooperation in space programmes, including manned space missions, under a memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries in October.
The MoU will provide an impetus for development of technologies and advanced systems required for the human space flight programmes, such as radiation shielding, life support systems, crew module, rendezvous and docking systems, space suit, training for astronauts etc.
The MoU will lead to a joint activity in the field of application of space technologies for the benefit of humanity. It will also help in the setting up of a joint working group, which will further work out the plan of action, including the time-frame and the means of implementing the provisions of the agreement.
SRIHARIKOTA, India (ESA PR) — The first ‘Pioneer’ mission lifted off last week from Sriharikota, India, with the two inventive little nanosatellites now circling the Earth, ready for action.
The shoebox-sized satellites were launched at 04:27 GMT into low Earth orbit by the Indian Space Research Organisation’s PLSV launcher, and opened their first communication windows with their owner, Spire Global, less than an hour after they separated from the rocket.
SRIHARIKOTA, India (ISRO PR) — The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C43) on Thursday successfully launched 31 satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota.
The PSLV-C43 lifted off at 9:57:30 (IST) from the First Launch Pad and injected India’s Hyper-Spectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS) into the 645 km sun-synchronous polar orbit, 17 minutes and 19 seconds after the lift-off.
The following is a list of launches for the remainder of November based on Spaceflightnow.com’s Launch Schedule. The list includes two launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and one launch apiece from Xichang in China, Kourou in French Guiana, and Satish Dhawan in India.
Please check Spaceflightnow’s launch page regularly because launches tend to slip on a regular basis.
Editor’s Note: The SpaceX Falcon 9 launch scheduled for Monday has been postponed five or six days so engineers can conduct additional checks of the booster. The first stage is being flown for the third time.
Launch Vehicle: Long March 3B — SUCCESS Payload: 2 Beidou navigation satellites Launch Time: TBA Launch Site: Xichang, China
Launch Vehicle: Vega Payload: Mohammed VI-B Earth observation satellite Launch Time: 8:42 p.m. EST on 20th (0142 GMT on 21st) Launch Site: Kourou, French Guiana Webcast: http://www.esa.int
Launch Vehicle: PSLV Payload: HySIS hyperspectral imaging satellite Launch Time: TBA Launch Site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India Webcast: https://www.isro.gov.in/
Launch Vehicle: Delta 4-Heavy Payload: NROL-71 reconnaissance satellite Launch Time: TBA Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California Webcast: https://www.ulalaunch.com/
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9 Payload: Spaceflight, Inc. SSO-A rideshare mission Launch Time: TBD Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California Webcast: http://www.spacex.com
This flight will deploy more than 70 spacecraft from approximately 35 different organizations.
SRIHARIKOTA, India (ISRO PR) — India’s GSAT-29 communication satellite was successfully launched by the second developmental flight of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MarkIII (GSLV MkIII-D2) on Wednesday from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.
Rideshare launch service provider prepares payload integration for its seventh launch with India’s PSLV
SEATTLE, Nov. 8, 2018 (Spaceflight PR) – Spaceflight, the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, today announced it will launch 12 spacecraft in November from India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Payloads aboard the mission include Fleet Space Technologies’ Centauri I, Harris Corporation’s HSAT, Spire’s LEMUR satellites, and BlackSky’s Global-1 microsatellite.
‘In addition to securing capacity aboard the launch vehicle, Spaceflight executed the integration of most of the payloads at its Seattle integration facility. The payloads are currently en route to PSLV’s launch facility at India’s Satish Dhawan Space Center for a launch in late November.
MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On September 25, 2018, the delegation of the Roskosmos State Corporation headed by Dmitry Rogozin met with representatives of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
The main topics of negotiations between the two space organizations were: joint work within the framework of manned space programs, where the Russian side is ready to offer its significant achievements and partnership, as well as possible joint initiatives in the areas of satellite navigation.
SRIHARIKOTA, India (ISRO PR) — PSLV-C42 successfully launched two foreign satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), SHAR, Sriharikota on September 16, 2018.
This mission was designed to launch two earth observation satellites, NovaSAR and S1-4 (together weighing nearly 889 kg) of M/s Surrey Satellite Technologies Limited (SSTL), United Kingdom under commercial arrangement with Antrix Corporation Limited, Department of Space. Both satellites were injected into 583 km Sun Synchronous Orbit.
NovaSAR is a S-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite intended for forest mapping, land use & ice cover monitoring, flood & disaster monitoring.
S1-4 is a high resolution Optical Earth Observation Satellite, used for surveying resources, environment monitoring, urban management and for the disaster monitoring.