From positive news of Mars Orbiter Mission completing its task successfully and enhancing it lifespan for few more years, ISRO has made every Indian smile with pride in 2015. Hardwork, dedication and team spirit still dominate the sprawling ISRO campus in Bangalore and their efforts towards socially beneficial projects has equally taken centre-stage in 2015.
Here is a glance at what ISRO achieved in 2015:
MARS Orbiter Mission has successfully completed its objective as planned and has completed one year around Mars orbit on September 24, 2015 and it withstood the test of scientific challenge by successfully coming out of the solar conjunction (a phase of communication blackout) in July 2015 using the On-board autonomy built in the spacecraft.
The Spacecraft is in good health and all the five scientific payloads are providing valuable data about the Martian atmosphere. A book titled ‘From Fishing Hamlet to Red Planet’, India’s space Journey, with series of articles from luminaries from ISRO, was released on November 05, 2015, on the second anniversary of Mars Orbiter spacecraft launch.
Mars Orbiter Mission has been awarded “Space Pioneer Award” for science and engineering category for the year 2015 by the US based National Space Society. The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development has been awarded to ISRO in recognition of its path-breaking.
2. Successful launch of GSLV:
On Aug 27, 2015, Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D6), equipped with the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS), successfully launched GSAT-6, the country’s advanced communication satellite, into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). This was the second consecutively successful flight of GSLV with the indigenous CUS, which is testimony to ISRO’s expertise in mastering the highly complex cryogenic rocket propulsion technology. It also signifies self reliance in launching 2 Ton class communication satellites into GTO.
3.Next Generation Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk III:
The first experimental flight of heavy lift next generation launch vehicle, GSLV-Mk III, was successfully conducted on December 18, 2014 to vlidate the Integrity of design of GSLV Mk III. It has also successfully tested the unmanned Crew module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) as the crew module splashed down over Andaman Sea with the help of its parachutes and was recovered from the sea.
Endurance hot test of High Thrust cryogenic engine (CE20) of GSLV-Mk III was successfully conducted on July 20, 2015 for 800 seconds as compared to its nominal burn duration of 635 seconds during flight. This engine is useful for powering the Cryogenic stage (C25) of GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle. Another short duration (5.7 s) hot test on the CE20 engine was conducted on Aug 10, 2015 to test engine ignition with tank pressure conditions as in flight. GSLV Mk III is designed to launch 3.5 to 4 Ton class communication satellites to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.
4.Navigational Satellite System called Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) consisting of a total of seven satellites to provide satellite-based navigational services in the country was carried out as planned in 2015. IRNSS-1D, the fourth satellite in this series was successfully launched on-board PSLV-C27 on March 28, 2015.
With four navigational satellites in orbit, it is now possible to provide Position, Navigation and Timing services. The IRNSS constellation of seven satellites is expected to be completed by 2016. Once completed, the IRNSS System will benefit the country by providing positioning services over Indian Land Mass and a region extending to the about 1500 Kms around India.
In addition, GAGAN (GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation), which is primarily being used in aviation sector for precise position information services, has been certified by DGCA for Navigation Performance level of Approach with Vertical Guidance (APV-1) over India.
With this, India becomes the Third country in the world, after USA and European Union, to offer Global Navigational Satellite System (GNSS) based precision approach services to civil aviation sector. The GAGAN System jointly developed by ISRO and AAI is a giant leap forward in the development of GNSS services in India and will redefine navigation in both aviation and non-aviation application areas.
5.Augmenting the Satellite Communications infrastructure:
GSAT-15, a 3 ton class communication satellite (carrying 24 Ku band transponders & GAGAN payload) was launched on November 11, 2015 at 3.04 hrs IST to augment the INSAT/GSAT system capacity for DTH, TV broadcasting, Digital Satellite News Gathering and VSAT services and other societal benefits.
GSAT-6, the country’s Advanced Communication Satellite (carrying S-Band payload with 5 spot beams & C-Band Payload with one beam) was successfully launched on Aug 27, 2015 into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit. S-Band Unfurlable Antenna of 6 meter diameter was successfully deployed on August 30, 2015. The satellite has now been positioned in its designated orbital slot of 83 degree East longitude. GSAT-6 is intended to be used for mobile communication with hand held terminals for defence applications.
6.India’s first multi-wavelength Observatory in Space:
ASTROSAT satellite, India’s first dedicated astronomy satellite was successfully launched by PSLV-C30 on September 28, 2015. ASTROSAT enables simultaneous Ultraviolet to X-Ray observations to study Stars and Galaxies. It is a unique mission with combination of scientific instruments covering near ultra-violet, far ultra-violet and x-ray bands for multi wavelength observations. The ultra-violet imaging telescope of ASTROSAT has a best resolution of 1.8 arc second combined with large field of view.
7.Commercial Launch of PSLV:
India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle has launched 17 foreign satellites from seven countries (Canada, Indonesia, Singapore, UK, and USA) during 2015 bringing the total number of foreign satellites launched by ISRO to 57.
(a) India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C28, successfully launched five satellites from United Kingdom viz. DMC3-1, DMC3-2, DMC3-3, CBNT-1 and De-orbitsail from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota on July 10, 2015 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota.
(b) PSLV-C30, along with ASTROSAT has successfully launched six co-passenger satellites, 4 LEMUR Satellites (USA), Lapan-A2 (Indonesia) ; NLS-14 (Canada) on September 28, 2015.
(c) PSLV-C29 lofted off six satellites of Singapore in to their designated orbit this year. TeLEOS-1 is the primary satellite whereas the other five are co-passenger satellites which include two microsatellites (VELOX-CI, Kent Ridge-1) and three nano satellites (VELOX-II, Athenoxat-1, Galassia).
8.Satellite for SAARC Region:
ISRO/DOS, with active support from Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), hosted a Conference on “Satellite for the SAARC region and Space Technology Applications” on June 22, 2015 at New Delhi to study configuration and ground Infrastructure requirements for the proposed ‘Satellite for the SAARC region’ and representatives from all SAARC member countries participated.
9.Conservation of heritage sites: ISRO has prepared a systematic database of heritage sites using space technology for mapping and identification of vulnerability of each monument and preparation of plans to track and mitigate environmental or weather changes that may have an adverse impact on fragile monuments.
10.Addressing unmanned level crossings
Pilot studies for automatic warnings at unmanned level crossings have been carried out using GAGAN, Rail-Navigator tools; MSS based tracking system and Bhuvan. It comprises of a geospatial database on the accurate locations (geographical coordinates) of unmanned level crossings and GAGAN enabled devices mounted on the train engine. A train mounted with such a device would know the location of unmanned level crossing and train’s hooter will automatically start when it approaches near to an unmanned crossing.