Gaganyaan Mission Current Affairs - 2020

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IDRSS: ISRO new satellite to help Gaganyaan crew

The Indian Data Relay Satellite System (IDRSS) will track Indian satellites in low-earth orbits. It is a new satellite series that plans to set up a communication system between the space assets of India.

Highlights

The system is aimed to play vital role in India’s space station and space docking. It will also assist distant expeditions of India to Mars, moon and Venus.

The system will help in monitoring launches. The IRDSS is to play a major role in India’s Human Space Flight Programme, Gaganyaan. It will help India to cover the entire mission right from its launch.

The IDRSS satellites are to be launched on GSLV launcher. They will approximately weigh 2,000 kg. These satellites are to be placed at an orbit of 36,000 km away from earth’s orbit.

About IDRSS

The mission consists of more than 2 satellites. The first two IRDSS satellites are to be sent in the end of 2020. These satellites will precede the experimental mission of Gaganyaan that will carry humanoid dummies. The first of this kind is to be launched in 2020 and the second satellite is to be launched in 2021.

This technology was launched by the space majors such as Russia and US in 1970-80s. They were used to monitor their respective space station.

Purpose

During the launch of Gaganyaan at least one ground should monitor the satellite 24/7. This is not possible for India with its current infrastructure. Also, to make the tracking continuous ISRO has to create number of ground stations or hire them globally. The IDRSS helps to solve this problem providing full time tracking of the mission.

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Fact Sheet: India to have its own Space Station

K. Sivan, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently announced that the country is planning to launch its own space station and modalities for it will be worked out after Gaganyaan Mission (India’s maiden manned mission to space).

Key Highlights

Mastering Technology: Although ISRO made announcement of space station recently but it has been quietly working on a key technology such as space docking & berthing technology for which it has also got Rs.10 crore sanctioned earlier. Once the agency will master this technology it will help join two separate free-flying space vehicles and also transfer materials and humans from one another that will enable this future space station and is also the key for a space station.

Extension: India’s space station project will be an extension of Gaganyaan Mission, which involves sending three Indian astronauts to space for 7 days in lower earth orbit (of 120-400 km). The government has already approved a cost of Rs.10,000 crore for Gaganyaan mission. Before the maiden flight with crew sometime in August 2022, there would be two unmanned (without crew) flights from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

The detailed project report on setting up India’s space station will also be submitted to government after Gaganyaan.

No Collaboration: India will not be collaborating with any other country for its space station project. United States (US), Russia, China and a consortium of nations that own the International Space Station (ISS) are the only countries that have had space stations so far. After its successful launch India would become 4th country to launch a space station.

Features:

The proposed space station is anticipated to weigh about 20 tonnes, it would be placed in an orbit 400 km above earth and will serve as a facility where astronauts can stay for upto 15-20 days in space.

India is targeting 2030 as the date to launch country’s space station which will most likely be used to conduct microgravity experiments.

It is one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by India.

What is a space station?

It is a spacecraft that designed to remain in space for an extended period of time and can be used for other spacecraft to dock as well as capable of supporting crew members, the most commonly known being the International Space Station (ISS).

International Space Station: It is a habitable artificial satellite in low earth orbit (LEO). It is the largest human-made body in LEO that completes multiple orbits around Earth every day thus can often be seen with the naked eye from Earth. Its first component was launched into orbit in 1998 and since then it has been inhabited continuously.

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