ISRO Current Affairs

Chandrayaan-2 launch postponed to October-November 2018

The Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) has postponed launch of India’s second lunar mission ‘Chandrayaan-2’ from April 2018 to October-November 2018. The launch was postponed for additional tests suggested by national level committee to review Chandrayaan-2.

Chandrayaan 2

Chandrayaan 2 is India’s second mission to Moon and is advanced version of previous Chandrayaan-1 mission (launched in 2008). It has been developed indigenously by ISRO. It consists of Orbiter, Lander and Rover configuration. In this mission, ISRO will for first time attempt to land a rover on moon’s south-pole. It will be launched on board of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk III (GSLV-F10).

It is ISRO’s first inter-planetary mission to land rover on any celestial body. The spacecraft (orbiter) weighs around 3,290 kg and it will orbit around moon and perform objectives of remote sensing moon. Once GSLV-F10 put spacecraft in 170 km x 20,000 km elliptical orbit, orbiter will be manoeuvred towards 100-km lunar orbit by firing thrusters and then lander housing the rover will separate from orbiter.

The six wheeled rover will move on lunar surface and collect soil or rock samples for on-site chemical analysis to gather scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice. The data will be relayed to Earth through orbiter. The rover will move around landing site in semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands.

Note: The soft-landing on the lunar surface of the moon will be most complex part of Chandrayaan 2 mission. Only US, Russia and China have been able to soft-land spacecraft on lunar surface.

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IRNSS-1I: ISRO successfully launches navigation satellite

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully launched IRNSS-1I navigation satellite from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The satellite was launched on board of PSLV-C41 (height of 44.4 meters and weight of 321 tonnes) after the normal lift-off and was successfully placed in the designated orbit. It was overall 20th flight of PSLV-XL version and 41st successful mission of total 43 of PSLV.

Key Facts

The IRNSS-1I is overall eighth satellite to join ISRO’s NavIC navigation satellite constellation. It replaced IRNSS-1A, the first of seven navigation satellites of IRNSS series that was rendered ineffective after its three rubidium atomic clocks failed. IRNSS-1I was made by Bengaluru-based Alpha Design Technologies in collaboration with ISRO.

Note: It was ISRO’s second attempt to send replacement satellite. The previous mission of a PSLV carrying IRNSS-1H in August 2017 failed after the heat shield covering satellite failed to separate in space after the launch.

The IRNSS-1I was having lift-off weight of 1,425 kg and has life span of 10 years. It carried two types of payloads: Navigation and Ranging.  They are L5 and S-band navigation payloads and C-band ranging payloads. It also has corner cube retroreflectors for LASER ranging. It will be stationed in Geosynchronous Orbit at 36,000 km height.

IRNSS

The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is an independent satellite based regional system developed indigenously by India on par with US-based GPS, Russia’s Glonass and Galileo developed by Europe. It was renamed “Navic” (Navigation with Indian Constellation).

The NAVIC system is constellation of seven satellites, (namely IRNSS-1I, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F and 1G) of which three are geostationary and four are non-geostationary. It provides location tracking within 20 meters of actual positions, especially in 1,500 km area around the country’s borders. The indigenous satellite-based navigation system under one’s control and command is considered a deep strategic asset.

The NAVIC navigation system has both civilian and military uses. Moreover, it helps not just in land navigation but also in marine and aerial navigation. It offers wide services like terrestrial and marine navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking and fleet management visual and voice navigation for drivers.

Background

The need for indigenous navigation system on par with GPS was felt soon after Kargil conflict (1999), when India desperately needed services osatellite-based navigation system, but did not have one of its own. The US system was not available at the time. Only US (named GPS) and Russia (Glosnass) currently have fully operational GPS systems at present. China (Beidou) and Europe (Galileo) are still in process of deploying their full systems.

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