Important Missions of ISRO – UPSC

In this article, You will read about Important Missions of ISRO for UPSC. Important Missions Launched by ISRO include GaganYaan Mission, Chandrayaan-2 Mission; NAVIC; GSAT-30; Aditya-L1 mission etc.

ISRO – Indian Space Research Organisation

ISRO is the space agency under the Department of Space of Government of India, headquartered in the city of Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Its vision is to harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration.

Antrix Corporation Limited (ACL) is a Marketing arm of ISRO for the promotion and commercial exploitation of space products, technical consultancy services, and transfer of technologies developed by ISRO.

Genesis

  • The space research activities were initiated in India under Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, the founding father of the Indian space program, during the 1960s.
  • Since its inception, the Indian space program had three distinct elements such as satellites for communication and remote sensing, the space transportation system, and application programs.
  • The INCOSPAR (Indian National Committee for Space Research) was initiated under the leadership of Dr. Sarabhai and Dr. Ramanathan.
  • During 1975-76, Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) was conducted. It was hailed as ‘the largest sociological experiment in the world’. It was followed by the ‘Kheda Communications Project (KCP)’, which worked as a field laboratory for need-based and locale-specific program transmission in the state of Gujarat State.
  • During this period, the first Indian spacecraft ‘Aryabhata’ was developed and was launched using a Soviet Launcher. Another major landmark was the development of the first launch vehicle SLV-3 with a capability to place 40 kg in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), which had its first successful flight in 1980.
  • In the experimental phase during 80’s, Bhaskara-I & II missions were pioneering steps in the remote sensing area whereas ‘Ariane Passenger Payload Experiment (APPLE)’ became the forerunner for the future communication satellite system.
  • During the operational phase in 90’s, major space infrastructure was created under two broad classes: one for communication, broadcasting, and meteorology through a multi-purpose Indian National Satellite System (INSAT), and the other for Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS) system. The development and operationalization of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the development of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) were significant achievements during this phase.

ISRO Milestones

  • The first Indian-made sounding rocket was the RH-75 (Rohini-75). It was launched from TERLS in 1967. It weighed just 32 kg. Series of Rohini Sounding Rockets were developed by ISRO for atmospheric and meteorological studies.
  • ISRO built its first satellite in 1975 and named it Aryabhata. This was launched by the Soviet Union.
  • The first Indian-built launch vehicle was SLV-3 and it was used to launch the Rohini satellite in 1980.
  • ISRO launched its first INSAT satellite in 1982. It was a communication satellite. It was named INSAT-1A, which failed in orbit. The next communication satellite INSAT-1B was launched in 1983.
  • ISRO also launched the first IRS (remote-sensing satellite) in 1988.
  • ISRO has developed three types of launch vehicles (or rockets) namely, the PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle), the GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle), and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mark III or LVM).
  • ISRO launched its first lunar mission Chandrayaan I in 2008.
  • It also launched the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or the Mangalyaan in 2014. With this, India became the first country to achieve success in putting a satellite in Mars orbit in its maiden attempt and the fourth space agency and the first space Asian agency to do so.
  • In 2017, ISRO created another world record by launching 104 satellites in a single rocket. It launched its heaviest rocket yet, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III, and placed the GSAT 19 in orbit. There are future plans for human spaceflight (Gaganyaan), interplanetary probes, and a solar mission as well.

Achievements and Important Missions of ISRO

GSAT-11

India’s next-generation high throughput communication satellite, GSAT-11 was successfully launched in 2018 from Kourou launch base, French Guiana by Ariane-5 VA-246.

  • Weighing about 5854 kg, GSAT-11 is the heaviest satellite built by ISRO.
  • GSAT-11 is the fore-runner in the series of advanced communication satellites with multi-spot beam antenna coverage over the Indian mainland and Islands.
  • GSAT-11 will play a vital role in providing broadband services across the country.
  • It will also provide a platform to demonstrate new generation applications.
  • GSAT-11 will boost the broadband connectivity to rural and inaccessible Gram Panchayats in the country coming under the Bharat Net Project, which is part of the Digital India Programme.
  • ISRO’s Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka took over the command and control of GSAT-11 and found its health parameters normal.
  • The use of Ka-band is introduced in India for the first time through GSAT-11.

GSLV MK III-D1/GSAT-19 MISSION

  • GSLV Mk III-D1 launched GSAT-19 from the Second Launch Pad (SLP) at Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR), Sriharikota.
  • GSAT-19 satellite with a lift-off mass of 3136 kg, is the communication satellite of India, configured around the ISRO’s standard I-3K bus.
  • GSAT-19 carries Ka/Ku-band high throughput communication transponders.

GSLV MKIII-M1/CHANDRAYAAN-2 MISSION

Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the Moon is a totally indigenous mission comprising of an Orbiter, Lander (Vikram), and Rover (Pragya) to explore the unexplored South Pole of the Moon.

  • Chandrayaan-2 is ISRO’s first attempt to land on any extraterrestrial surface.
  • Core Objective: To map the location, and abundance of lunar water.
Background
  • The project began in 2007 with an agreement between India’s space agency ISRO and Russia’s ROSCOSMOS for mutual cooperation.
    • However, the mission was postponed in January 2013 and rescheduled to 2016 as Russia was unable to develop the lander on time.
  • Later, after Russia’s withdrawal, India decided to develop the lunar mission independently. Finally, on 22 July 2019, GSLV MK III M1 on its first operational flight successfully launched Chandrayaan-2.
  • Once successful, India will become the fourth country to soft-land a spacecraft on the Moon after the USSR, the USA, and China. Chandrayaan-2 will make a landing at a site where no earlier mission has gone, near the south pole of the Moon.
  • Chandrayaan-2 is a natural sequel to Chandrayaan-1, an Orbiter mission launched in October 2008.
    • Chandrayaan-1, ISRO’s first exploratory mission to the moon, was designed to just orbit the Moon and make observations with instruments onboard.
    • Chandrayaan-1 operated for 312 days as opposed to the intended two years but the mission achieved 95% of its planned objectives.
Key Findings of Chandrayaan-1
  • Confirmed presence of lunar water
  • Evidence of lunar caves formed by an ancient lunar lava flow
  • The past tectonic activity was found on the lunar surface.
    • The faults and fractures discovered could be features of past interior tectonic activity coupled with meteorite impacts.
Chandrayaan-2: Design and Mission Profile

Components of Chandrayaan – 2: Launch Vehicle

  • S200 solid rocket booster
  • L110 liquid state
  • C25 Upper stage

The Chandrayaan-2 mission consisted of three main modules:

  1. lunar orbiter
  2. Vikram lander (named after Vikram Sarabhai, the late father of India’s space program)
  3. lunar rover named Pragyan

All of the above parts were developed in India.

Mission Objectives
  • Try and build on the evidence of water molecules shown by Chandrayaan-I and study the extent and distribution of water on the Moon
  • Study topography, seismography, the composition of the lunar surface and the lunar atmosphere
    • The study of ancient rocks and craters can offer indications of the origin and evolution of the Moon.
    • The South Pole region of the Moon also contains clues to the fossil records of the early solar system. Thus, it will improve our understanding of the early solar system as well.
  • Map the lunar surface and prepare 3D maps of it.
Significance of Chandrayaan 2

In all the space missions, no country has ever attempted to land a spacecraft in the polar regions of the moon. This gave India a lead in space exploration on an international level.

  1. Due to the moon’s axis, few regions on the South Pole always remains dark especially the craters and have higher chances of containing water.
  2. The craters might have never received sunlight because it at very low angles in the Polar Regions and thus, increasing the chances of presence of ice on such surfaces.
  3. The lunar surface area at the south pole of the Moon that remains in shadow is much larger than the North Pole thus making moon’s South Pole interesting. This also increases the probability of the existence of water in permanently shadowed areas around it.
  4. The second de-orbiting manoeuvre for Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was performed successfully today on September 04, 2019, beginning at 0342 hrs IST as planned, using the onboard propulsion system. The duration of the manoeuvre was 9 seconds.
  5. On October 14, 2019, Chandrayaan-2 detected the presence of Argon-40 in the lunar exosphere.
  6. On July 30th, 2020 Chandrayaan-2 imaged the Sarabhai Crater located on the north-east quadrant of the moon
Chandrayaan-2 Mission: Updates
  1. The orbital insertion was achieved on 20th August 2019. The Orbiter has a life duration of 7 years and will continue its mission.
  2. Vikram Lander had a mission life of 14 days. The landing on the moon’s surface was planned on 7th September 2019. However, the landing failed at the final stages. Vikram lander crash-landed on the moon’s surface as the velocity was higher than the desired velocity (2 m/s) and the Failure Analysis Committee of ISRO concluded that a software glitch was the cause of the failure.
  3. Pragyan Rover was planned for a duration of around 14 days. As the landing failed, the rover could not be deployed on the moon’s surface.
Geotail

 Chandrayaan-2 named CLASS (Chandrayaan-2 Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer) has detected charged particles present on the moon soil during the orbiter’s passage through the “Geotail”.

  • The Sun emits the solar wind, which is a continuous stream of charged particles (like electrons, protons, alpha particles, etc). These particles are present in the upper atmosphere of the Sun, called the Corona.
  • Since the Earth has a magnetic field, it obstructs this solar wind plasma.
  • This interaction results in the formation of a magnetic envelope around Earth called the magnetosphere.
  • On the Earth side facing the Sun, this magnetosphere is compressed into a region that is approximately three to four times the Earth radius.
  • On the opposite side, the envelope is stretched into a long tail, which extends beyond the orbit of the Moon. It is this that is called the Geotail.
  • Once every 29 days, the Moon traverses the Geotail for about six days.
  • The Geotail region allows the best scientific observations.

PSLV-C45 EMISAT MISSION

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched the country’s first electronic surveillance satellite, EMISAT.

  • It was launched on-board PSLV-C45. As many as 28 small satellites of international customers were also put in space as secondary riders.
  • EMISAT is an advanced electronic intelligence (ELINT) satellite jointly developed by ISRO-DRDO. It is meant for electromagnetic spectrum measurements.
  • It is modeled after a famous Israeli spy satellite called SARAL (Satellite with ARgos and ALtika).
  • EMISAT also has a special altimeter (a radar altitude measuring device) called ‘AltiKa’ that works in the Ka-band microwave region of the spectrum. The electronic surveillance payload of EMISAT was developed under a DRDO’s project called KAUTILYA.
  • The main capability of EMISAT is in signal intelligence — intercepting signals broadcasted by communication systems, radars, and other electronic systems. The Ka-band frequency that EMISAT is sensitive to allows the 436-kg
  • EMISAT — India’s newest spy in the sky — to scan through ice, rain, coastal zones, landmasses, forests, and wave heights with ease.
  • This flight marked the first mission of PSLV-QL, a new variant of PSLV with four strap-on motors. Injected India’s EMISAT into a 748 km sun-synchronous polar orbit
  • EMISAT is a satellite built around ISRO’s Mini Satellite-2 bus weighing about 436 kg.
  • The satellite is intended for electromagnetic spectrum measurement.

PSLV-C44

India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C44) successfully injected Microsat-R and Kalamsat-V2 satellites into their designated orbits.

This flight marked the first mission of PSLV-DL, a new variant of PSLV with two strap-on motors. PSLV-C44 mission was unique as it was for the first time ISRO used the last stage of the rocket as a platform to perform experiments in space.

PSLV-C46

India’s PSLV-C46 successfully launched the RISAT-2B satellite from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.

RISAT-2B with a lift-off mass of 615 kg, is a radar imaging earth observation satellite. The satellite is intended to provide services to Agriculture, Forestry, and Disaster Management domains.

GAGANYAAN MISSION

India’s maiden human spaceflight mission is named ‘Gaganyaan’.

  • The Indian Human Spaceflight Programme (HSP) was created in 2007 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to develop the technology needed to launch crewed orbital spacecraft into low Earth orbit.
  • The first crewed flight is planned with a spacecraft called Gaganyaan for December 2022 on a GSLV Mk-III rocket.
  • ISRO had already developed most of the technologies for crewed flight and it performed a Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment and a Pad Abort Test for the mission.
  • If completed on schedule, India will become the fourth nation to conduct independent human spaceflight after the Soviet Union/Russia, United States, and China.
  • Crew training is provided by Russia.
VyomMitra: Lady Robot for Gaganyaan

 Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) unveiled its first ‘woman’ astronaut, named Vyom Mitra who will ride to space in the first test flight of the human space mission, Gaganyaan.

  • She is half-humanoid and her body stops at the torso and has no legs. She is capable of switching panel operations, performing Environment Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) functions, conversations with the astronauts, recognizing them, and solving their queries.
    • The humanoid can detect and give out warnings if the environment changes within the cabin.
  • She will simulate the human functions required for space before real astronauts take off before August 2022. She will be sent in a space capsule around the end of 2020 or early 2021 to study how astronauts respond to living outside earth in controlled zero-gravity conditions.
  • The humanoid has been developed by the ISRO Inertial Systems Unit, Thiruvananthapuram.

ASIAN TROPOPAUSE AEROSOL LAYER (ATAL)

ISRO-NASA efforts towards resolving the issue of Asian Tropopause Aerosol Layer (ATAL).

  • Atmospheric aerosol and clouds play important role in weather and climate.
  • A recent discovery of high altitude (~ 16km) Aerosol layer occurring during monsoon in the south Asian region using CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation) has started puzzling the atmospheric scientists.
  • Very little is known about the composition and the formation mechanisms of this intense aerosol layer. This layer is of concern since it could play an important role in the climate and weather.
  • To understand this enigmatic layer, balloon-borne experiments along with ground-based observations are being conducted under an ISRO-NASA collaborative program – “Balloon Borne measurement campaigns of Asian Tropopause Aerosol Layer (BATAL).

ASTROSAT

  • It is the first dedicated Indian astronomy mission aimed at studying celestial sources in X-ray, optical, and UV spectral bands simultaneously.
  • The payloads cover the energy bands of Ultraviolet (Near and Far), limited optical and X-ray regime (0.3 keV to 100keV).
  • One of the unique features of the AstroSat mission is that it enables the simultaneous multiwavelength observations of various astronomical objects with a single satellite.
  • AstroSat with a lift-off mass of 1515 kg was launched on September 28, 2015, into a 650 km orbit inclined at an angle of 6 deg to the equator by PSLV-C30 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
  • The minimum useful life of the AstroSat mission is expected to be 5 years.
  • It is seen as a smaller version of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.
  • It has 5 payloads which include:
    • Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UVIT)
    • Large Area X-ray Proportional Counter (LAXPC)
    • Soft X-ray Telescope (SXT)
    • Cadmium Zinc Telluride Imager (CZTI)
    • Scanning Sky Monitor (SSM)

SOLAR MISSION- ADITYA

ADITYA-1 is the first solar mission intended to study Sun’s Corona, Chromosphere, and Photosphere. In addition, it will study the particle flux emanating from the Sun, and the variation of magnetic field strength.

It would be placed into a point in space known as the L1 Lagrange point.

  • Aditya L1 will be ISRO’s 2nd space-based astronomy mission after AstroSat, which was launched in 2015.
  • Aditya 1 was renamed as Aditya-L1. The Aditya 1 was meant to observe only the solar corona.

Launch Vehicle: Aditya L1 will be launched using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) XL with 7 payloads (instruments) on board.

Objective: Aditya L1 will study the Sun’s corona (Visible and Near-infrared rays), Sun’s photosphere (soft and hard X-ray), chromosphere (Ultra Violet ), solar emissions, solar winds and flares, and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), and will carry out round-the-clock imaging of the Sun.

Challenges: The distance of the Sun from Earth ( approximately 15 crore km on average, compared to the only 3.84 lakh km to the Moon). This huge distance poses a scientific challenge.

  • Due to the risks involved, payloads in earlier ISRO missions have largely remained stationary in space; however, Aditya L1 will have some moving components which increases the risks of collision.
  • Other issues are the super-hot temperatures and radiation in the solar atmosphere. However, Aditya L1 will stay much farther away, and the heat is not expected to be a major concern for the instruments onboard.
Importance
  • The evolution of every planet, including Earth and the exoplanets beyond the Solar System, is governed by its parent star i.e the Sun in our case. Solar weather and the environment affect the weather of the entire system. Therefore, it is important to study the Sun.
  • Effects of Variation in Solar Weather System: Variations in this weather can change the orbits of satellites or shorten their lives, interfere with or damage onboard electronics, and cause power blackouts and other disturbances on Earth.
  • Knowledge of solar events is key to understanding space weather.
  • To learn about and track Earth-directed storms, and to predict their impact, continuous solar observations are needed.
  • Many of the instruments and their components for this mission are being manufactured for the first time in the country.

A Lagrangian point is a position or location in space where the combined gravitational
forces of two large bodies are equal to the centrifugal force that is felt by a third body
which is relatively smaller.

Lagrange Point 1

  • Lagrange Points, named after Italian-French mathematician Josephy-Louis Lagrange, are positioned in space where the gravitational forces of a two-body system (like the Sun and the Earth) produce enhanced regions of attraction and repulsion.
  • The L1 point is about 1.5 million km from Earth or about 1/100th of the way to the Sun.
  • L1 refers to Lagrangian/Lagrange Point 1, one of 5 points in the orbital plane of the Earth-Sun system.
  • These can be used by spacecraft to reduce fuel consumption needed to remain in position.
  • A Satellite placed in the halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) has the major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation/ eclipses.
  • The L1 point is home to the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory Satellite (SOHO), an international collaboration project of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).
Lagrange Points
Other Missions to the Sun
  • NASA’s Parker Solar Probe’s aim is to trace how energy and heat move through the Sun’s corona and to study the source of the solar wind’s acceleration.
    • It is part of NASA’s ‘Living With a Star program that explores different aspects of the Sun-Earth system.
  • The earlier Helios 2 solar probe, a joint venture between NASA and the space agency of erstwhile West Germany, went within 43 million km of the Sun’s surface in 1976.

NISAR Mission

The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) is a joint Earth-observing mission by NASA and ISRO. The mission aims at co-developing a dual-frequency synthetic aperture radar on an Earth observation satellite.

The NASA-ISRO SAR mission will observe Earth and measure its changing ecosystem and masses globally. It is the world’s most expensive imaging-satellite and the two space agencies intend to launch the satellite by 2022.

The key factors and characteristics of the mission are given below:

  • It is a dual-frequency Radar imaging satellite and is using both L-Brand and S-Brand Radar frequencies that will map Earth every 12 days from two directions. The S-Brand Radar is being built by ISRO and the L-Brand Radar is being built by NASA
  • The satellite is likely to be launched from Indian soil. The launch site is Satish Dhawan Space Center or Sriharikota Range, Andhra Pradesh
  • The main objective of this research is to make global measurements of the causes and consequences of land surface changes. This includes:
    • Imbalance in the Ecosystem
    • Natural Hazards including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, and landslides.
    • Ice Sheet Collapse
    • Agricultural and Forest Biomass
    • Soil Moisture Estimation
  • The mission is also expected to open up paths for the future joint mission between the two Space Agencies.

Shukrayaan-1

Shukrayaan-1 is a proposed mission of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

It is a mission to study Venus for more than four years.

Scientific objectives: Investigation of the surface processes and shallow subsurface stratigraphy; and solar wind interaction with Venusian Ionosphere, and studying the structure, composition, and dynamics of the atmosphere.

The satellite is planned to be launched onboard GSLV Mk II rocket.

The proposed orbit is expected to be around 500 x 60,000 km around Venus. This orbit is likely to be reduced gradually, over several months to a lower apoapsis (farthest point).

Venus
  • Venus is often described as the “twin sister” of the Earth because of the similarities in size, mass, density, bulk composition, and gravity.
  • It is believed that both planets share a common origin, forming at the same time out of a condensing nebulosity around 4.5 billion years ago.
  • Venus is around 30 percent closer to the Sun as compared to Earth resulting in much higher solar flux.

XPoSat

The X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) is a planned space observatory to study the polarization of cosmic X-rays. It is planned to be launched in 2021 and to provide a service time of at least five years.

The telescope is being developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Raman Research Institute. POLIX will study the degree and angle of polarisation of bright X-ray sources in the energy range of 5-30 keV.

The spacecraft will be placed in a circular 500-700km orbit.

It will study neutron stars, supernova remnants, pulsars and regions around black holes.

Cartosat-3

ISRO has launched Cartosat-3 and 13 commercial nanosatellites into Sun Synchronous orbit from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota.

  • Cartosat-3 is an earth-observation remote sensing satellite that will replace the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) series. So far, ISRO has orbited 8 Cartosats since 2005.
    • Remote sensing is the science of obtaining information about objects or areas from a distance, typically from aircraft or satellites.
  • The 13 commercial nanosatellites are from the USA, which is the first commercial order for New Space India Limited, the commercial arm of ISRO which was formed in March 2019.

Cartosat-3 is a third-generation advanced earth observation satellite carried by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C47.

 It has the ‘sharpest eye’ of civil remote sensing satellites in the world.

  • One of Cartosat-3’s cameras offers a ground resolution of 25 cm – it can pick up an object of a minimum of 25 cm size from a height of around 500 km.
  • Currently, a satellite owned by US private company- WorldView-3, has the best ground resolution of 31 cm.

Inclination: It has been placed at 97.5 degrees to the equator of the earth.

It has many new technologies such as a highly agile or flexible camera; high-speed data transmission, advanced computer system, etc.

Applications
  • Data from most of the Cartosat satellites are exclusively used by the armed forces.
  • However, an existing policy allows only government and government authorized agencies to access ISRO’s high-resolution imageries below a resolution of 1 meter.
  • Cartosat-3’s optical imaging will also help to detect precise cartographic or mapping activities.
  • The imageries are also used for urban and rural infrastructure planning, coastal land use and regulation, utility management such as monitoring road networks, water grids or distribution, creation of land use maps, disaster management, etc.

Cartosat Satellites

  • The Cartosat satellites are earth observation satellites, used mainly for large-scale mapping of the Earth through high-resolution cameras.
  • It also helps to detect changes in natural geographical or man-made features. As their cameras can `look back and forth’ in an angle to generate continuous spot images.
  • The Earth-observation satellites also include the Resourcesat and RISAT series, the Oceansat series.
    • The Resourcesat and RISAT series of satellites, for example, provide images and data that are needed for land and water resources applications.
    • The Oceansat series and the SARAL satellite, meanwhile, produce data on the oceans.
    • The satellites like INSAT 3D, INSAT-VRR, or Megha Tropiques study the atmosphere.

NAVIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation)

Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland.

It was developed in India by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and its commercial wing ANTRIX.

IRNSS would provide two types of services, namely Standard Positioning Services available to all users and Restricted Services provided to authorised users.

It consists of 8 satellites located at a distance of approximately 36,000 Km. Currently, 7 satellites are active.

  • 3 satellites are in Geostationary Orbit (GEO)
  • 5 satellites are in inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (GSO)

The objective of the NavIC is to provide navigation, timing, and reliable positioning services in and around India.

Working of the NavIC is very similar to the Global Positioning System(GPS) implemented by the United States. 

The NavIC is certified by 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) which is responsible for coordinating mobile telephony standards globally.

Its applications include:

  • Terrestrial, Aerial, and Marine Navigation.
  • Disaster Management.
  • Vehicle tracking and fleet management.
  • Integration with mobile phones.
  • Precise Timing.
  • Mapping and Geodetic data capture.
  • Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travelers.
  • Visual and voice navigation for drivers.

Read Here in detailed – Navigation Satellite System

GSAT-30

 ISRO has launched telecommunication satellite GSAT-30 into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) from Kourou launch base, French Guiana by European Ariane-5 VA-251.

  • GSAT-30 satellite will replace INSAT-4A which was launched in 2005.
  • European communication satellite named EUTELSAT KONNECT was also launched with GSAT-30.

Weight: GSAT-30 weighs 3,357-kg and will be gradually adjusted into a orbit 36,000 km from the earth.

It was launched from the foreign launcher because it is much heavier than the lifting capacity of its geostationary launch vehicle GSLV-MkII (It has the capacity to lift 2500kg).

  • The GSLV-MkIII can lift up to 4,000 kg, but ISRO plans to use the upcoming MkIIIs mainly for its first human space flight Gaganyaan of 2022.

Use:

  • It will provide DTH (direct to home) television services, connectivity to VSATs (that support working of banks’) ATMs, stock exchange, television uplinking and teleport services, digital satellite news gathering and e-governance applications.
  • The satellite will also be used for bulk data transfer for a host of emerging telecommunication applications.

Coverage :

  • The satellite provides Indian mainland and island coverage in Ku-band and extended coverage in C-band covering Gulf countries, a large number of Asian countries, and Australia.
  • The Ku and C bands are part of a spectrum of frequencies, ranging from 1 to 40 gigahertz, that are used in satellite communications.

What is Arianespace?

It is the world’s first commercial launch service provider and since the launch of India’s APPLE experimental satellite on Ariane Flight L03 in 1981, Arianespace has orbited 24 satellites, including Gsat-30, for the Indian space agency.

GEMINI

The Union Minister of Earth Sciences has recently launched the Gagan Enabled Mariner’s Instrument for Navigation and Information (GEMINI) device.

The device is developed for effective dissemination of emergency information and communication on Ocean States Forecast and mapping of Potential Fishing Zones (PFZ) to fishermen.

  • Ocean States Forecast provides an accurate state of the ocean that includes the forecasts related to winds, waves, ocean currents, water temperature, etc.
  • PFZ provide information about the probable locations of fish aggregation in the seas to the fishermen.

The device will help to provide information related to disaster warnings when fishermen move away from the coast beyond 10 to 12 kilometres. 

The GEMINI device receives and transfers the data received from GAGAN satellite/s to a mobile through Bluetooth communication. A mobile application developed by INCOIS decodes and displays the information in nine regional languages. 

It has been developed by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), and the Airports Authority of India (AAI)

It is electronically designed and manufactured by a private industry M/S Acord, Bangalore under the Make in India Program. 

Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) in collaboration with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) utilized the GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation) satellite while developing the GEMINI device.

  • GAGAN was developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Airports Authority of India. It is India’s first satellite-based global positioning system that relies on ISRO’s GSAT satellites.

The drawback of this device is that it only allows one-way communication, i.e, it can’t be used by fishermen to make calls.

  • Also, it is relatively expensive for the average fisherman (priced at ₹9,000 per device). Attempts are being made to subsidize it by as much as 90%.

UNISPACE Nanosatellite Assembly &Training (UNNATI) program

  • ISRO launched a capacity building program on Nanosatellite development named UNNATI.
  • It is an initiative to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first United Nations conference on the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space (UNISPACE+50).
  • It would provide opportunities to the participating developing countries to strengthen in assembling, integrating, and testing of Nanosatellite.

Space Technology Cells (STCs)

  • ISRO has set up 5 Space Technology Cells (STCs) at Indian Institute of Technologies (IITs) – Bombay, Kanpur, Kharagpur & Madras; Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru and Joint Research Programme with Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU, Pune) to carry out research activities in the areas of space technology and applications.
  • IIT Delhi is also going to set up an STC in collaboration with ISRO.
  • ISRO desires the development of high-end technology in collaboration with IITs in the areas of Space Science, Space Technology, and Space Applications. ISRO would fund the identified projects.

Indian Neutrino project

  • The India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) Project is a multi-institutional effort aimed at building a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover of approx.1200 m for non-accelerator based high energy and nuclear physics research in India. The initial goal of INO is to study neutrinos.
  • It is a mega-science project jointly funded by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

The project includes:

  1. Construction of an underground laboratory and associated surface facilities at Pottipuram in Bodi West hills of Theni District of Tamil Nadu.
  2. Construction of an Iron Calorimeter (ICAL) detector for studying neutrinos.
  3. Setting up of National Centre for High Energy Physics at Madurai, for the operation and maintenance of the underground laboratory, human resource development, and detector R&D along with its applications.

What are neutrinos?

Neutrinos, first proposed by Swiss scientist Wolfgang Pauli in 1930, are the second most widely occurring particle in the universe, only second to photons, the particle which makes up light. In fact, neutrinos are so abundant among us that every second, there are more than 100 trillion of them passing right through each of us — we never even notice them.

Why detect them?

Neutrinos hold the key to several important and fundamental questions on the origin of the Universe and the energy production in stars. Another important possible application of neutrinos is in the area of neutrino tomography of the earth, that is the detailed investigation of the structure of the Earth from core onwards. This is possible with neutrinos since they are the only particles that can probe the deep interiors of the Earth.

Why should the laboratory be situated underground?

Neutrinos are notoriously difficult to detect in a laboratory because of their extremely weak interaction with matter. The background from cosmic rays (which interact much more readily than neutrinos) and natural radioactivity will make it almost impossible to detect them on the surface of the Earth. This is the reason most neutrino observatories are located deep inside the Earth’s surfaceThe overburden provided by the Earth matter is transparent to neutrinos whereas most background from cosmic rays is substantially reduced depending on the depth at which the detector is located.

Indian Neutrino project

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