India’s PSLV Rocket Launches Pair of British Satellites

PSLV booster launches on C-42 mission. (Credit: ISRO)

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.

Arianespace to Launch the GSAT-31 and GSAT-30 Satellites for India With Ariane 5

Ariane 5 liftoff (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (Arianespace PR) — The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has chosen Arianespace to launch its GSAT-31 and GSAT-30 telecommunications satellites.

The two satellites are to be launched on separate Ariane 5s from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana from end 2018 onwards, starting with GSAT-31.

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India Developing Small Satellite Launcher

India is moving to compete in the growing small satellite launch market.

ISRO is working on building smaller launch vehicles that will carry satellites weighing 500 to 700-kg to up to 500 kilometres from the Earth’s surface, the Indian space agency’s chief K. Sivan said….

“The demand for small satellites is growing. Small satellites are going to be used for communication purposes in an enormous way. To catch up with the small satellites market, ISRO is in the process of developing a small satellite launcher,” he said….

“We are working on small satellite launch vehicles. These will be able to launch a satellite of 500 to 700-kilograms in a range of 500 kilometre from Sriharikota (the Satish Dhawan Space Centre),” he said. ISRO will need 50-60 such vehicles every year, Sivan said, noting that the industry should come forward in this endeavour as over the next 3-4 years as the prime focus of the space research agency would be on the Gaganyan.

India, France to Cooperate on Human Spaceflight

BENGALURU, India (CNES PR) — Announcing the establishment of a French-Indian working group dedicated to cooperation in the field of manned spaceflight, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and ISRO President K Sivan have concretized one of the main commitments made by the President of the Republic during his state visit to India.

CNES and ISRO will pool their expertise in the fields of space medicine, astronaut health monitoring, life support, radiation protection, space debris protection and personal hygiene systems.

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Creating Dynamism in Indian Space Ecosystem

BENGALURU, India (ISRO PR) — The Sixth edition of the Bengaluru Space Expo (BSX-2018) took off with the theme — Creating dynamism in the Indian space ecosystem — with specific focus on enabling new space players in India. This event provided a single platform for the interaction of hundreds of delegates with specialists, entrepreneurs and space industry heavyweights.

The event is organised by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) in association with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Antrix Corporation Limited. More than 700 delegates are participating in this Asia’s largest event on Space, Satellites and Launch Vehicles.

Inaugurating the event, Dr K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO and Secretary, Department of Space, called upon the industry to take active part in all ongoing and future space missions.

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Ice Confirmed at the Moon’s Poles

The image shows the distribution of surface ice at the Moon’s south pole (left) and north pole (right), detected by NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument. Blue represents the ice locations, plotted over an image of the lunar surface, where the gray scale corresponds to surface temperature (darker representing colder areas and lighter shades indicating warmer zones). The ice is concentrated at the darkest and coldest locations, in the shadows of craters. This is the first time scientists have directly observed definitive evidence of water ice on the Moon’s surface. (Credits: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — In the darkest and coldest parts of its polar regions, a team of scientists has directly observed definitive evidence of water ice on the Moon’s surface. These ice deposits are patchily distributed and could possibly be ancient. At the southern pole, most of the ice is concentrated at lunar craters, while the northern pole’s ice is more widely, but sparsely spread.

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SSTL’s NovaSAR-1 & SSTL S1-4 Satellites to Launch on ISRO’s PSLV

NovaSAR-1 and SSTL S1-4 satellites in flight cases. (Credit: SSTL)

GUILDFORD, UK (SSTL PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has signed an agreement with Antrix Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), for the launch into a 580km sun-synchronous orbit of NovaSAR-1, a small Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite, and SSTL S1-4, a high resolution Earth observation satellite. The two satellites will launch on PSLV-C42, due to lift-off in September 2018.

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Indian Prime Minister Says Country Will Launch Astronauts into Space By 2022

Escape tower fires for crew vehicle. (Credit: ISRO)

Speaking 0n the 72nd anniversary of Indian independence, Prime Minister Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the nation would launch astronauts into space within four years.

“India has always advanced in space science but we have decided that by 2022 when India completes 75 years of Independence, or before that, a son or daughter of India will go to space with a tricolor in their hands,” Modi said.

Indian news outlets are reporting the country is planning to send three astronauts, known as vyomnauts (spacenauts), into Earth orbit on a mission lasting five to seven days.

ISRO would spend 90 billion rupees ($1.28 billion) on the initial program, which would two uncrewed flight tests before the vyomnauts fly in a spacecraft launched by a GSLV Mk. 3 booster.

On July 5, ISRO successfully tested a crew escape system that blasted away a simulated crew module with a mass of 12.6 metric tons.

 

India Again Postpones Launch of Chandrayaan-2

India has decided to once again postpone the launch of its ambitious Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission out of an abundance of caution.

Earlier this year, the ISRO had launched GSAT-6A, a military communication satellite, but lost communication with it. Following this, the ISRO also recalled the launch of GSAT-11 from from Kourou, French Guiana, for additional technical checks. Last September, the PSLV- C39 mission, carrying the IRNSS-1H navigation satellite, failed after the heat shield refused to open and release the satellite….

“We don’t want to take any risk,” said the official, requesting anonymity. The official added that there are certain windows during which the mission could be launched. The next launch window is likely to be in January. Repeated attempts to solicit a response from ISRO chairman K. Sivan were not successful.

In April, Mr. Sivan informed the government about the postponement of the launch to October-November. A national-level committee to review Chandrayaan-2 recommended some additional tests before the mission could take off.

The mission will put an orbiter around the moon and a lander and rover on the surface. It is a follow-on to the successful Chandrayaan-1 orbiter.

ISRO Signs Contracts to Outsource Satellite Production

GSLV Mk. II launches the GSAT-6A satellite. (Credit: ISRO)

In an effort to increase satellite production, ISRO has signed contracts with private companies to produce 27 spacecraft by 2021, The Hindu reports.

On Wednesday in Bengaluru, its nodal satellites division URSC (U.R. Rao Satellite Centre) signed separate three-year contracts with Alpha Design Technologies P Ltd and its six consortium members; with defence public enterprise Bharat Electronics Ltd; and with Tata Advanced Systems Ltd, Hyderabad.

Each partner will work with the URSC to produce three small to medium satellites each year, or a total of 27 spacecraft by July 2021, it is learnt. About 50 members from each partner will separately work with URSC engineers to complete the project.

The Alpha-plus consortium includes small and medium-sized companies such as Newtech, Aidin, Aniara Communications, DCX, Vinyas and Exseed Space, according to Alpha CMD Col. H.S.Shankar. All but the last member were already involved in building two 1,400-kg navigation satellites IRNSS-1H and 1I for ISRO last year.

A URSC official signed the agreements with the three entities in the presence of URSC Director M. Annadurai. A statement just said, “URSC-ISRO has inked pacts for outsourcing of spacecraft assembly, integration and testing [AIT] activities with multiple vendors namely Alpha Technologies Private Limited, Bengaluru & its consortium partners; Bharat Electronics Ltd, Bengaluru; and Tata Advanced Systems Limited, Hyderabad.”

Successful Qualification of India’s High Thrust Vikas Engine

High thrust Vikas engine test (Credit: ISRO)

MAHENDRAGIRI, India (ISRO PR) — Today (July 15, 2018), a high thrust version of the Vikas Engine was successfully qualified through a ground test for a duration of 195 seconds at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), Mahendragiri, Tamilnadu. Vikas Engine is the workhorse liquid rocket engine powering the second stage of India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), second stage and the four strap on stages of Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and the twin engine core liquid stage (L110) of GSLV Mk-III.

All the propulsion parameters during the tests were found satisfactory and closely matched the predictions. This ground test has validated the performance adequacy of the Vikas Engine for its use in the upcoming second developmental flight of GSLV Mk-III. This engine will improve the payload capability of PSLV, GSLV and GSLV Mk-III launch vehicles.

Mid-Year Global Launch Report: China & USA Continue to Battle for Lead

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the NROL-47 mission lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The world’s launch providers were extremely busy in the first half of 2018, with China and the United States battling for the lead.

There with 55 orbital launches through the end of June, which amounted to a launch every 3.29 days or 79 hours. The total is more than half the 90 launches attempted in 2017. With approximately 42 missions scheduled for the last six months of the year, the total could reach 97. (more…)

India Moving Toward Human Spaceflight Program

Escape tower fires (Credit: ISRO)
Last week’s test of a crew escape system signals a renewed push by ISRO for an indigenous human spaceflight program, Business Standard reports.

Days after it successfully carried out a flight test for a new system, meant for saving lives of astronauts in an exigency, ISRO today said it would approve in a month’s time an ‘internal document’ on developing crucial technologies under its Human Spaceflight Programme.

“No human spaceflight programme has been approved in India yet. We had prepared the document to develop crucial technologies in 2004.

Now we are in the process of revising it. In a month’s time, we will approve our internal document,” ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan told reporters after the 11th annual Katre Memorial Lecture here…

Sivan said the document, which was being worked on for over a decade, is being revised for review and interactions with stakeholders, including Indian Air Force and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

Full Video of ISRO Capsule Escape Test

The test looks fine until just before the end. The parachutes released a wee bit early and the capsule plunged into the water.

“Hey, we’re safe, we made….Oh no! Brace for impact!”

ISRO Successfully Tests Crew Escape System

Escape tower fires (Credit: ISRO)

SRIHARIKOTA, India (ISRO PR) — ISRO carried out a major technology demonstration today (July 05, 2018), the first in a series of tests to qualify a Crew Escape System, which is a critical technology relevant for human spaceflight. The Crew Escape System is an emergency escape measure designed to quickly pull the crew module along with the astronauts to a safe distance from the launch vehicle in the event of a launch abort. The first test (Pad Abort Test) demonstrated the safe recovery of the crew module in case of any exigency at the launch pad.

After a smooth countdown of 5 hours, the Crew Escape System along with the simulated crew module with a mass of 12.6 tonnes, lifted off at 07.00 AM (IST) at the opening of the launch window from its pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota today. The test was over in 259 seconds, during which the Crew Escape System along with crew module soared skyward, then arced out over the Bay of Bengal and floated back to Earth under its parachutes about 2.9 km from Sriharikota.

Capsule descending under parachute (Credit: ISRO)

The crew module reached an altitude of nearly 2.7 km under the power of its seven specifically designed quick acting solid motors to take away the crew module to a safe distance without exceeding the safe g-levels. Nearly 300 sensors recorded various mission performance parameters during the test flight. Three recovery boats are being exercised to retrieve the module as part of the recovery protocol.