Small Satellite Launch Vehicles Current Affairs
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.
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 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.
The Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) is developing small satellite launch vehicles to launch low-cost small satellites.
Preliminary work to design and develop such ambitious small launch vehicle already has started at ISRO’s rocket development node, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). The small launch vehicle will be able to put satellites of up to 500-600 kg in orbits close to the Earth. VSSC has designed the vehicle using the rocket technology.
Small satellite launch vehicles have tremendous potential to cut the launch fee that customers pay. Ride on small launchers is ninth or tenth of the present cost. Besides, they are easy to assemble compared to about 40 days taken to assemble a PSLV.
Since 1999, ISRO’s PSLV rockets have launched 209 small satellites from 28 countries for fee. In February 2017, PSLV created world record by launching 104 satellites to space. Globally, the small satellites market is booming as they are used for various applications. As such, worldwide, operators and private players are developing small launchers to capture the market at a much lower cost
Global space industry consulting firm Euroconsult in July 2017 had estimated that 6,200 smallsats — many of them will be launched during 2017-2026 and its market value will touch to $30 billion — up from $8.9 billion in last decade.