Space technology Current Affairs - 2019
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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.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched two satellites— NovaSAR and S1-4-belonging to United Kingdom (UK) based Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL). Both satellites were injected into Sun Synchronous Orbit (pole-to-pole orbit) at an altitude of 583 km after the launch.
These satellites were launched on board of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C42) from first launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. This was the 44th flight of PSLV and the 12th flight of Core Alone version of the vehicle.Core Alone version of PSLV is lightest version without six strap-on motors. It is used for launching smaller payloads. It was ISRO’s first fully commercial trip of the year. This launch helped Antrix Corporation, commercial arm of ISRO to earn more than Rs. 220 crore. As on date, ISRO has launched 239 foreign satellites of 28 countries.
S1-4 Satellite: It is high resolution earth observation satellite meant for surveying resources, environment monitoring, urban management and disaster monitoring.
NovaSAR Sateillite: It carries S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Automatic Identification Receiver payloads. It is technology demonstration mission designed to test capabilities of new low cost S-band SAR platform. Its applications include forestry mapping, land use and ice cover monitoring, flood and disaster monitoring and maritime missions. It will be operated from SSTL’s Spacecraft Operations Centre in Guildford, UK.
PSLV is the third generation launch vehicle of India, designed and developed by ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. It is hailed as the reliable and versatile workhorse launch vehicle of India. It consists of four stages, using solid and liquid propulsion systems alternately. Each stage of PSLV is self-contained vehicle capable of functioning independently with own propulsion systems.
It is capable of launching 1600 kg satellites in 620 km sun-synchronous polar orbit and 1050 ks satellite in geo-synchronous transfer orbit. There are three variants of PSLV, namely, PSLV-G, PSLV-CA, PSLV-XL. In the standard configuration, it measures 44.4 m tall, with a lift off weigh of 295 tonnes.
Some notable payloads launched by PSLV include India’s first lunar probe Chandrayaan-1, India’s first interplanetary mission, Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) and India’s first space observatory, Astrosat.