New Chairman Takes Charge as India Space Agency Struggles to Launch Satellites and Begin Human Spaceflight

New ISRO Chairman Shri. S. Somanath (left) takes over from K. Sivan. (Credit: ISRO)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A new chairman has taken over the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) at a crucial time as the space agency continues to struggles with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the challenge of becoming only the fourth nation capable of launching astronauts into orbit.

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A Report on India’s Plans to Compete in Space on International Market

Video Caption: India is opening doors for private companies to enter space. PM Narendra Modi launched the Indian Space Association that will serve as a “single-window” for matters of space technology.

What is India’s game plan to win the global space race? Palki Sharma tells you.

Prime Minister Modi Launches the Indian Space Association (ISpA)

ISpA aims to contribute towards the accelerated development of India’s space industry and making the country a leading player in this segment.

New Delhi, 11 October, 2021 (ISRO PR) — The Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today launched the Indian Space Association (ISpA) – the premier industry association of space and satellite companies. Also present on the occasion were Shri Ashwin Vaishnav, Union Minister of Communications, Electronics & IT;  Shri Ajit Doval,  National Security Advisor of India; Dr Jitender Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State – Department of Space; Gen  Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff of India; Shri K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO and Shri Pawan Goenka, Chairman, IN-SPACe.

Speaking on the occasion the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said: “Today is the day the Indian space sector receives new wings. For 75 years since independence, Indian space has been dominated by a single umbrella of Indian government and government institutions. Scientists of India have made huge achievements in these decades, but the need of the hour is that there should be no restrictions on Indian talent, whether it is in the public sector or in the private sector. In a way, the country has given a new gift to the talent of India’s entrepreneurs by opening up India’s space sector in its 75th year of independence. Let this collective power of India’s population take the space sector forward in an organized manner. The Indian Space Association (ISpA) will play a huge role in this.”  

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NSIL/ISRO and OneWeb to Collaborate for Taking Digital Connectivity to Every Corner of the World

GSLV Mk III booster lifts off. (Credit: ISRO)
  • ISRO’s PSLV and GSLV-MkIII to become a part of launch programme for OneWeb’s LEO satellites that will beam high speed broadband on earth

LONDON and NEW DELHI, India, 11 October 2021 (OneWeb PR) — Bharti-backed OneWeb, the low Earth orbit satellite communications company, today announced an  arrangement through Letter of Intent with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), to use the Indian-built PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) and the heavier GSLV-MkIII (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) as potential platforms to launch OneWeb’s satellites in India from 2022.

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Launch 2020: India’s Flight Rate Declined Due to COVID-19, but Nation Moved Forward with Commercialization

PSLV-C50 lifts off with the CMS-01 satellite. (Credit: ISRO)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s growing space program managed only two domestic launches last year as it was forced to delay the Gaganyaan human spaceflight program and several other high profile projects.

However, India was able to move forward last year on a sweeping commercialization of its state-controlled space industry designed to make the country internationally competitive.

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ISRO Chairman Given 1-Year Extension of Term

Dr. K Sivan (Credit: ISRO)

ISRO Chairman K Sivan has been given an one-year extension to his term, postponing his planned Jan. 14, 2021 retirement date.

Sivan, 63, was appointed ISRO chairman in January 2018. He joined ISRO in 1982 and previously served as director of the space agency’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre.

In an interview with the Times of India, Sivan said he would do his best to move the Gaganyaan human spaceflight program toward a crew launch by the August 2022 deadline set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Other priorities include continuing the ongoing commercialization reforms of the Indian space industry and fast tracking the launch of the Chandrayaan-3 lunar landing mission.

It’s Dead, Jim! ISRO Gives Up on Lunar Lander, Rover

Chandrayaan2 Vikram lander (Credit: ISRO)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Well, it’s not the famous winter of Game of Thrones, but the 14-day lunar night has arrived where India’s Vikram lander and Pragyan rover made what IRSO officials have called a “hard landing” two weeks ago with no communication between them and ground controllers.

Since neither vehicle was designed to survive the frigid temperatures of the lunar night, the Indian space agency has called it a day in a rather bare bones announcement.

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France, India to Develop Ship Tracking Satellite Constellation

PARIS (CNES PR) — On the occasion of the state visit to France of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an agreement signed by CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and K Sivan, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), was officially announced to start development and production of a constellation of satellites on which studies have been underway since President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to India in March 2018.

This constellation carrying telecommunications (AIS*) and radar and optical remote-sensing instruments will constitute the first space-based system in the world capable of tracking ships continuously. The satellites will be operated jointly by France and India to monitor ships in the Indian Ocean. The system will cover a wide belt around the globe, benefiting a broad range of French economic interests. With a revisit capability making it possible to task acquisitions several times a day, it will also be able to detect oil slicks and trace their origin.

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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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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.

 











ISRO Chairman Departs on High Note

k_radhakrishnan
K Radhakrishnan

ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan has retired, ending his five-year tenure as head of India’s space agency on a high note following the successes of Mars Orbiter Mission and the inaugural launch of the GSLV Mark III rocket.

Indian media are reporting that Shailesh Nayak, secretary in the ministry of the earth sciences, has been given the responsibility of running ISRO until a replacement for Radhakrishnan is named in about a month.

The resignation will allow Prime Minster Narendra Modi, who was elected in May, the opportunity to appoint a new chairman for the space agency.

Indian media report that Radhakrishnan’s term in office was supposed to expire in August, but he was given a four-month extension that allowed him to preside over the launch of the first GSLV Mark III rocket in December.