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ISRO Future Missions: More Joint Ventures with NASA, JAXA on the Cards

Ever since its workhorse PSLV was rolled out, Indian Space Research Organisation has never looked back and its future cryogenic engine launch vehicles make it stronger with a quantum jump in its space launches.

With its unprecedented success of the Mangalyaan or Mars Orbit Mission (MoM), ISRO has hit the nerve of space researchers to vie for more and robust missions aimed at the Chandrayaan-II, Gagan and another mission to Venus.

After launching the Astrosat last month, ISRO has joined three other space giants like the US, Europe and Japan with its own space observatory mission to get a closer look at the galaxies in outer space.

From merely develop-ing its own missions, ISRO has been actively joining hands with foreign agencies to explore joint space missions and one visibly major mission is with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to launch a spacecraft to study microwave remote sensing in the future.

“It’s about the study of pulse and knowing what is not normally visible under cloudy conditions. Through remote sensing, depending on the frequency, one can identify what’s there by depending on frequency characteristic change. For instance, the L-band studies vegetation, while the S-band and the X-band study other fields,” says NASA on its website.

The joint project with JPL, ISRO will examine the use of L and S bands. The spacecraft will be made by ISRO and the mission requires a very large antenna with a diameter of 12 metres. To be launched by 2019-20, currently ISRO is working on its project report preparation. Soon ISRO scientists will sit with NASA experts on its future course of action.

Even for its next robust moon mission Chandrayaan II, Isro will work with NASA. Even other exploratory missions for the Sun and Mars, ISRO is planning to join the bigger space agencies. With the French collaboration, ISRO is planning to develop two landers. With Japan’s JAXA, ISRO has been collaborating in the field of X-ray astronomy.

ISRO Future Missions:

Chandrayaan-2: This will be India’s second mission to the Moon carrying both an orbiter and lander-rover module. To be launched on India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-MkII) before 2017, the mission is expected to improve our understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon.

Aditya I: As the name suggests, Aditya (Sun in Sanskrit) will be launched next year 2016 weighing about 400-kg with a Solar Coronagraph to study solar Corona in visible and near IR bands. Actually, the Aditya mission was planned to coincide with the hyper solar activity period in 2012 but was postponed to 2015–2016 owing to the extensive fabrication work involved. It will study the Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) and impact on the crucial physical parameters for space weather due to coronal magnetic field structures, evolution of the coronal magnetic field among others.

AVATAR: The scaled down experimental mission AVATAR (Aerobic Vehicle for Transatmospheric Hypersonic Aerospace TrAnspoRtation) is a manned single-stage reusable spaceplane capable of horizontal takeoff and landing. The project with India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is a concept mission for low cost military and commercial satellite space launches, as well as for space tourism. The full-fledged manned AVATAR flight is scheduled for 2025.

SAARC satellite: First of its kind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brain child, the SAARC Satellite is a communication-cum-meteorology satellite for the SAARC region that was announced last year and its launch is likely in December 2016.

NISAR: NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (Nisar) is a joint project between NASA and ISRO to co-develop and launch a dual frequency synthetic aperture radar satellite to be used for microwave remote sensing. It is notable for being the first dual band radar imaging satellite.

ISRO Future Projects from 2015-2020
Portfolio 2015-17 2017-20
Launch Vehicles * GSLV Mk III
* Cryogenic Stage
* Semi-cryogenics
* Re-usability
* Air-breathing
Satellite Communications * Multi-beam- Data communication
* Digital Multi-media
* 6 ton-class, high power 12 kW Satellite (Ka band)
* Higher Frequency bands
Satellite Navigation * GAGAN (improved accuracy of GPS signals over India)

Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS)

Augment IRNSS coverage (11 Satellites)
Satellite Remote Sensing * XBand Imaging
*Hyper Spectral Geo-Imaging
* S and L Bands Imaging
* Very High Resolution – (0.25m)
Space Science and Exploration Chandrayaan-2
* Astrobiology
* Space Habitat Studies
* Near-Earth Objects
Space Applications * Climate & Environment
* Navigation Service
* Strategic applications
* Sensor-web Access
* Adaptive Imaging

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