Small Satellite Launch Vehicles Current Affairs - 2019

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ISRO to launch 14 small satellites

In next 2 months, ISRO will launch 14 small foreign satellites in its next three PSLVs (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles). The projects are to be implemented by November and December.

Highlights

  • The payloads are to be launched in three PSLV flights namely PSLV-C47, PSLV-C48, PSLV-C49.
  • The Indian payload Cartosat-3 will be the primary payload of PSLV-C47. The Cartosat satellites are a series of Indian earth observatory satellites built and operated by ISRO. The Cartosat-3 is a remote sensing satellite.
  • So far ISRO has launched 300 small satellites to low earth orbits for foreign customers.

Small Satellite

The small satellites weigh around 500 kg. These satellites reduce large economic costs of launch vehicles. They are of lower cost, more frequent, quicker and offer broader access to space. They are primarily used for communication, research, meteorology and insurance.

The small satellites are mini-satellites, micro-satellites and nano-satellites.

ISRO’s Nano-satellites

The INS-ISRO Nano Satellites have capability to carry up to 3 kg. The primary objective of the INS is to provide an opportunity to carry payloads for universities and R&D laboratories. They also provide an opportunity for ISRO technology demonstration payloads.

ISRO setting up third launch pad at Sriharikota for Gaganyaan mission

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is setting up third launch pad at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh to undertake Gaganyaan manned space flight programme. ISRO currently has two launch pads which are already full. Third launch pad is being set up for the human space flight. It will be ready in time for the mission. In addition, ISRO is scouting for location on western sea coast near Gujarat to set up another launch pad for Small Satellite Launch Vehicles (SSLV).

Small Satellite Launch Vehicles (SSLV)

ISRO is developing SSLV to offer affordable launch options for smaller satellites through ANTRIX, the space agency’s commercial arm. The SSLV is expected to reduce launch time as well as cost less to launch small satellites, which are much in demand. ISRO currently piggybacks smaller satellites on Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle abbreviated (GSLV) along with bigger satellites.

Gaganyaan Mission

It will be India’s first manned space mission. Under it, India is planning to send three humans (Gaganyatris) into space i.e. in low earth orbit (LEO) by 2022 i.e. by 75th Independence Day for period of five to seven days. The mission was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 72nd Independence Day speech. Under this mission, crew of three astronauts will conduct experiments on microgravity in space.  The crew will be selected jointly by Indian Air Force (IAF) and ISRO after which they will undergo training for two-three years. India will be fourth nation in the world after USA, Russia and China to launch human spaceflight mission.

Objectives of Gaganyaan Mission: Enhance of science and technology levels in the country, serve as national project involving several institutes, academia and industry, improve of industrial growth, inspire youth, develop technology for social benefits and improve international collaboration.

ISRO’s preparation

ISRO already has begun work on manned mission in 2004. It already has validated many of the critical technologies required for human spaceflight through various tests such as Space Capsule Recovery Experiment, Crew Module Atmospheric Re-Entry Experiment and Pad Abort Test.  ISRO will use its GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle which can carry heavier payload of Gaganyaan. This launch vehicle will take off from new launch pad of ISRO.