'Epic' ISRO feat: PM Modi's Gaganyaan surprise to country's first planet discovery - How 2018 panned out
ISRO 2018 Review: The year 2018 was extremely fruitful for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the country's space ambitions.
ISRO 2018 Review: The year 2018 was extremely fruitful for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the country's space ambitions. ISRO launched successfully several satellites, including those of other countries in the space. The biggest landmark of the year was Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement to send the country's first manned mission into space. While addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 72nd Independence Day, the prime minister announced that India has resolved to send manned spacecraft (Gaganyaan) to space by 2022. If successful, India will become only the fourth country in the world after the US, Russia and China to do this
The Union Cabinet has now approved the Gaganyaan programme. The estimates fund requirement for the Phase-1 of the mission is Rs 9023 crore. In an official release, the Union cabinet said the Union Cabinet has approved the "Gaganyaan Programme with demonstration of Indian Human Spaceflight capability to low earth orbit for a mission duration ranging from one orbital period to a maximum of seven days. A human rated GSLV Mk-lll will be used to carry the orbital module which will have necessary provisions for sustaining a 3-member crew for the duration of the mission."
Here's a look at the record launches and developments that kept the ISRO in the news in New Year:
1. 31 satellites put in space
ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C40 successfully launched the 710 kg Cartosat-2 Series Remote Sensing Satellite along with 30 co-passenger satellites on 12th January, 2018, from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. The 11 kg INS-1C and the 100 kg class Microsat were the two Indian co-passenger satellites of Cartosat-2. The 28 international customer satellites belonged to Canada, Finland, France, Republic of Korea, UK and the USA.
2. GSAT-6A Satellite launch
India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F08) successfully launched GSAT-6A Satellite into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) on 29th March, 2018. This was the fifth consecutive success achieved by GSLV carrying indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage. GSAT-6A is a communication satellite built by ISRO to provide mobile communication services through multibeam coverage. For this, it is equipped with S and C band transponders.
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3. NavIC launch
In its forty-third flight, ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C41 successfully launched the 1,425 kg IRNSS-1I Navigation Satellite on 12th April, 2018, from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. IRNSS-1I is the latest member of the ‘Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC)’ system. NavIC, also known as Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1,500 km around the Indian mainland.
4. NovaSAR and S1-4 launch
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C42) of ISRO successfully launched two satellites -- NovaSAR and S1-4-- from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota on 16th September, 2018. The satellites belong to UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), which has a contract with Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of ISRO.
NovaSAR carries S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and an Automatic Identification Receiver payloads. The satellite 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.
S1-4 is a high-resolution earth observation satellite meant for surveying resources, environment monitoring, urban management and disaster monitoring.
5. 31 satellites launch again
ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C43) successfully launched 31 satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) on 29th November 2018, in Sriharikota. HysIS is an earth observation satellite built around ISRO’s Mini Satellite2 (IMS-2) bus weighing about 380kg. The mission life of the satellite is five years.
The primary goal of HysIS is to study the earth’s surface in both the visible, near infrared and shortwave infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. HysIS had the company of one micro and 29 nano-satellites from eight countries, including Australia (1), Canada (1), Columbia (1), Finland (1), Malaysia (1), Netherlands (1), Spain (1) and USA (23).
6. GSAT-29 communication launch
India’s GSAT-29 communication satellite was successfully launched by the second developmental flight of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MarkIII (GSLV MkIII-D2) today from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota, on 14th November, 2018.
GSLV Mk III is a three-stage heavy-lift launch vehicle developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). GSAT-29 is a multiband, multi-beam communication satellite, intended to serve as a test bed for several new and critical technologies. Its Ku-band and Ka-band payloads are configured to cater to the communication requirements of users including those from remote areas especially from Jammu & Kashmir and North-Eastern regions of India.
7. GSAT-11 launch
ISRO’s heaviest and most-advanced high throughput communication satellite GSAT-11 was successfully launched from the Spaceport in French Guiana during the early hours on 5th December, 2018.
GSAT-11 will act as a forerunner to all future high throughput communication satellites. The 5,854-kg GSAT-11 will provide high data rate connectivity to users of Indian mainland and islands through 32 user beams in Ku-band and 8 hub beams in Ka-band.
8. GSAT-7A launch
ISRO’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F11) successfully launched the communication satellite GSAT-7A from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota on 19th December, 2018. GSAT-7A is the heaviest satellite launched by GSLV with an indigenously developed cryogenic stage. GSAT-7A is an advanced communication satellite with a Gregorian Antenna and many other new technologies.
PSLV Continuation Programme (Phase 6) a: On 6th June, 2018, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the PSLV Continuation Programme (Phase 6) and funding of thirty PSLV operational flights under the Programme. The Programme will also meet the launch requirement of satellites for Earth observation, Navigation and Space Sciences. This will also ensure the continuity of production in Indian industry. The total fund requirement is Rs. 6131.00 Crores and includes the cost of thirty PSLV vehicles, essential facility augmentation, Programme Management and Launch Campaign.
The Cabinet also approved funding for the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III (GSLV Mk-III) continuation programme (Phase-I) consisting of ten (10) GSLV (Mk-III) flights, at a total estimated cost of Rs. 4338.20 crores.
9. Sub-Saturn or super-Neptune size planet discovered!
A team of scientists and engineers led by Prof. Abhijit Chakraborty of Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, discovered a sub-Saturn or super-Neptune size planet (mass of about 27 Earth Mass and size of 6 Earth Radii) around a Sun-like star.
The planet will be known as EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b. With this discovery, India joined a handful of countries, which have discovered planets around stars beyond our solar system.
PARAS is the first of its kind spectrograph in Asia, which can measure the mass of a planet going around a star. Very few spectrographs exist around the world that can do such precise measurements.
10: Successful Pad Abort Test for Manned Mission to Space
ISRO carried out Pad Abort Test successfully to qualify Crew Escape System required for Human Spaceflight, on 5th July 2018 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. As part of the activities for development of critical technologies for future Human Spaceflight, Pad Abort Test was carried out to demonstrate the Crew Escape System during any exigency at the launch pad.
The Crew Escape System is configured using specially designed quick acting solid motors that deliver a relatively large thrust to take the crew module to a safe distance. Experimental data from this mission will serve as a useful input to undertake human spaceflight programme. An amount of Rs.173.00 crores was approved for development of critical technologies including Crew Escape System.