PSLV Current Affairs

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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ISRO successfully launches 8 satellites into two different orbits

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for first time has successfully launched eight satellites into two different orbits in a single mission.

These satellites were launched onboard of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle C35 (PSLV C35) from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikotta.

It was PSLV’s longest and most complex mission. It is also for the first time PSLV has successfully placed satellites in two different orbits in single mission.

Key Facts

  • Among the eight satellites launched, three satellites were from India, three from Algeria and one each from Canada and United States.
  • SCATSAT-1 satellite of India weighing 371 kg was the primary payload and remaining other seven customer satellites were secondary payloads (5 foreign and 2 domestic satellite) weighing 304 kg in total.
  • SCATSAT-1 satellite: It is weather satellite that was placed in polar sun synchronous orbit of 730 kilometer height.
  • It will provide weather forecasting services meant for ocean and weather forecasts, cyclone detection and tracking through wind-vector products. It will have life of five years.
  • Pratham: It is a 10-kg satellite developed by students from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay.
  • It will be used to study the total electron count in space with a resolution of 1km x 1km location grid.
  • PISAT: It is a 5.25-kg satellite made by students of Bengaluru’s PES University. It will take pictures of earth for remote sensing applications.
  • Three Algerian satellites: Alsat-1B (103 kg), Alsat-2B (110 kg) and Alsat Nano (7 kg). They will be used for remote sensing, earth observation, and technology demonstration.
  • Pathfinder-1: It is US satellite owned by BlackSky. It weighs 44 kg and has a high resolution imaging microsatellite.
  • NLS-19: It is Canadian satellite developed by University of Toronto. It is a nano-satellite weighing 8 kg. It will be used for experiments for reducing space debris.

Comment

  • It was longest and most complex mission because most countries launch satellites in a single orbit and even if multiple satellites are injected in a sequence in the same orbit.
  • However, in this mission PSLV launched its payloads in two different orbits by following twin-orbit manoeuvre. It was recently accomplished by European Space Agency’s Vega rocket.
  • This is a challenging two-in-one mission also puts India in a unique league of nations having the capability to achieve two different orbits in a single mission.
  • This successful mission also has enhanced marketability and versatility of PSLV, ISRO’s workhorse and also increased its unique position global satellite launch services market.

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