Indian Space Program: News & Discussions

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Xiaomi works on NavIC GPS on its phone with ISRO

Author: Deeksha Arora
January 3, 2020; 3:36 pm EST

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For the Indian Smartphone with NavIC chipsets, Xiaomi holds advanced talks with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Xiaomi uses NavIC-friendly chipsets developed by Qualcomm on its smartphones in India when details of this project are finalized. Qualcomm has announced that its chip will get and release NaVIC. Now nearly Xiaomi agrees to do so. Xiaomi will launch NavIC chipsets on its mobile phones.

ISRO had announced in October 2019 that Qualcomm had successfully developed and tested NavIC supporting processors. In pursuing space technology for national development, the NavIC is a critical step forward, and we are committed to making this technology open to everyone for daily use. ISRO is very happy to be operating on the Qualcomm platforms to enable NavIC.

NavIC is the Indian version of the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS), and it is designed to provide accurate position information services or location data to users in India and people in the region extending up to 1,500 km from the boundary of the country.NavIC is the Indian Regional Satellite Navigation System (IRNSS) abbreviation. The ISRO has built an IRNSS system for terrestrial navigation, aerial and maritime navigation, disaster management, tracking, and fleet management.

Two types of services are provided when deployed. One is the Standard Positioning Service (SPS) for all users. It will work in a way that is similar to our smartphone location service. The second is the Limited Service (LS). It is an encrypted service, and only authorized users can use it. It should be noted as soon as China announced the deployment of its navigation system Beidou in the first half of 2020, this development will take place. In addition to the US, the European Union and Russia also have their own Galileo and GLONASS navigation systems.

Xiaomi works on NavIC GPS on its phone with ISRO
 
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New satellites will help Gaganyaan crew

By Madhumathi D.S.
BENGALURU, January 06, 2020 22:47 IST

Astronauts can be fully and continuously in touch with mission control throughout their travel
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India plans to ring in its own era of space-to-space tracking and communication of its space assets this year by putting up a new satellite series called the Indian Data Relay Satellite System.The IDRSS is planned to track and be constantly in touch with Indian satellites, in particular those in low-earth orbits which have limited coverage of earth.

In the coming years, it will be vital to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), whose roadmap is dotted with advanced LEO missions such as space docking, space station, as well as distant expeditions to moon, Mars and Venus. It will also be useful in monitoring launches, according to K. Sivan, ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space.

The first beneficiary would be the prospective crew members of the Gaganyaan mission of 2022 who can be fully and continuously in touch with mission control throughout their travel. “When we have the Gaganyaan mission we want it to be covered and be visible 100% so that action can be taken in any exigency,” he said.

Work initiated

Work on the two IDRSS satellites planned initially has begun. The first of them will be sent towards the end of 2020. It will precede the pre-Gaganyaan experimental unmanned space flight which will have a humanoid dummy. A second one will follow in 2021. The two will offer near total tracking, sending and receiving of information from the crew 24/7.

Older space majors such as the U.S. and Russia started their relay satellite systems in the late 1970s-80s and a few already have around 10 satellites each. They have used them to monitor their respective space stations Mir and the International Space Station, and trips that dock with them, as well as the Hubble Space Telescope.

Dr. Sivan said IDRSS satellites of the 2,000 kg class would be launched on the GSLV launcher to geostationary orbits around 36,000 km away. In such apparently fixed orbits, they would be covering the same area on earth. A satellite in GEO covers a third of the earth below and three of them can provide total coverage.

‘IDRSS is imperative’

During the launch of the human mission and also when the crew craft orbits earth from a distance of 400 km, at least one ground station must see and track it. But with available ground stations, that would not be the case. Without data relay satellites, ISRO would have to create a large number ground stations everywhere or hire them globally and yet the crewed spacecraft would not be visible all the time.

“We require the IDRSS system when our astronauts are in space. But I would prefer the relay spacecraft to be in place even before we launch the unmanned mission,” Dr. Sivan said.

While the U.S. is putting up its third-generation advanced fleet of TDRS (Tracking & Data Relay Satellites), Russia has its Satellite Data Relay Network and Europe is building its own European Data Relay System. China is into its second generation Tianlian II series.

New data relay satellites to keep Gaganyaan crew in touch with Earth
 

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High Resolution Panchromatic and Multi-spectral Images covering Qatar area as observed from CARTOSAT-3. Calibration & Validation of the products are in process, to further improve the quality of products.

Khalifa Stadium area. High resolution Multi-spectral Image, acquired on 28-Dec-2019
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Old Doha Airport area. High resolution Panchromatic Image, acquired on 28-Dec-2019
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Palm City area. High resolution Panchromatic Image, acquired on 28-Dec-2019
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High Resolution Panchromatic and Multi-spectral Images covering Qatar area as observed from CARTOSAT-3. Calibration & Validation of the products are in process, to further improve the quality of products.

Khalifa Stadium area. High resolution Multi-spectral Image, acquired on 28-Dec-2019
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Old Doha Airport area. High resolution Panchromatic Image, acquired on 28-Dec-2019
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Palm City area. High resolution Panchromatic Image, acquired on 28-Dec-2019
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Gautam

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India's lack of electronics manufacturing ecosystem is hurting ISRO's space plans

By Raghu Krishnan, Ayan Pramanik, ET Bureau | Updated: Jan 10, 2020, 12.41 PM IST
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Photo: AJIT processor fabricated by ISRO's SCL.

India’s space agency planned to build as well as launch 17 homegrown satellites in 2019. It, however, managed to deliver only about half due to a shortage of electronics parts.

The absence of a robust homegrown electronics ecosystem is hurting the ambitious targets set by the Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO), which has lined up more than 60 missions over the next five years.

These include building new generation communication and earth observation satellites, heavier rockets, return missions to the moon and Mars, and its first human space flight endeavour.

Each of these spacecraft and rockets needs electronic components and systems, mostly imported.

Over half of the electronics components on a large satellite and nearly a tenth for a rocket are imported as they need to meet stringent standards. These components should be reliable, radiation hardened and work through the mission life of a satellite, which could be as many as 15 years.

The need, therefore, for such components is only going to increase as the space agency becomes more aggressive in pursuing cutting-edge missions.

Congress Party leader and Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh has, in fact, raised concerns over the country’s high import of electronics, arguing it represents a crucial gap in ISRO’s capabilities.

“Over 80% of electronics components are imported. Carbon composites are sourced from only one Japanese company. Microprocessor design capability is impressive, but the country still awaits a state-of the-art fabrication and manufacturing facility. All these gaps need to be filled urgently,” Ramesh, who is the chairman of the House panel on science, technology, environment, forests and climate change, is believed to have written in a letter to Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu, according to a report by The Hindustan Times.

Ramesh did not respond to calls or text messages seeking comment.

“It is a direct correlation to what is happening in the smartphone industry,” says Parv Sharma, research analyst at Counterpoint Research. “We don’t manufacture them, only assemble (them) here. India imports smartphones (with) semiconductor chips and electronics in semi-knockdown or completely knockdown kits, and we assemble the phones here,” he explains.

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Upcoming missions of ISRO

India is a big importer of electronics primarily because the homegrown industry is virtually absent. In fiscal year 2019, India’s electronics imports stood at $55.6 billion, most of it for use in smartphones.

Efforts to build local semiconductor fabrication units over the last two decades have been unsuccessful due to high costs and the lack of a stable policy.

“The key thing for electronics manufacturing is semiconductor fabs,” says Sharma.

FAB EFFORT

To be sure, ISRO owns a fabrication facility that is capable of producing chips with 45 nanometre technology.


Since it took over Semi-Conductor Laboratory, a public sector undertaking a decade ago, it has upgraded the fab and developed a micro-electrical mechanical system (MeMs).

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Vikram processor

The biggest shift has been in building the Vikram processor, crucial for navigation and guidance control of ISRO’s rockets.

“There are some critical components, such as the Vikram processor, that we have already built,” says Dr K Radhakrishnan, former chairman of ISRO. The space agency has been collaborating with industry locally to produce electronics as well as systems for its satellites, he adds.

“We have to get the sub-systems from the industry or from our own (ISRO) system. There are very few (global) vendors who can supply these systems,” he says.

ISRO has stepped up efforts to build capabilities with local manufacturers to meet its requirements for electronics as well as tap the global opportunity for satellites.

According to estimates by Stratview Research, the global space electronics market is projected to touch $1.62 trillion by 2024.

The growth is expected to come from increased production of satellites, especially small ones; the market entry of commercial space companies and as more countries look to build satellites on their own.

In September, Bengaluru-based Centum Electronics set up a new facility to design, develop and make electronic components for both ISRO’s satellites and rockets.


“Keeping in mind the growing number of missions of ISRO, we have made significant investments to ensure (that) we can deliver products with the right quality, technology and in required quantities to be a trusted partner for ISRO,” says Apparao Mallavarapu, CMD of Centum Group.

The number of companies that are taking up the opportunity is, however, still small, says an ISRO official who did not wish to be named.

“Earlier, we had the issue of volumes. Now, we are giving them our roadmap of satellites and spacecraft and assuring them orders. It is becoming difficult to get companies even to build rectifiers and Integrated Circuits,” says the official.


NEW POLICY PUSH

Texas Instruments chose Bengaluru to set up its first design base outside of the United States in the late Eighties, and since then India has emerged as a design hub for most global companies — Intel, Qualcomm, ZTE, ARM and AMD — to build their next-generation chips.

This has also helped spawn a startup ecosystem where entrepreneurs have set up fabless chip design companies — designing chips, but getting them assembled, tested and manufactured in independent foundries such as TSMC in Taiwan.

While India has emerged as a global hub for chip design, making them at foundries abroad could be an interim step before local fabs emerge, say experts.

India should tap the homegrown expertise in chip and electronic systems design, says Naga Bharath Daka, co-founder and chief operating officer of Skyroot, the first private sector company designing a rocket that will likely launch by 2021.

“The semiconductor fabrication industry...did not take off in India, mainly because it is highly investment intensive. Even globally, pure-play semiconductor manufacturing is becoming highly consolidated,” says Daka. “What we can only hope for is the emergence of a good number of fabless semiconductor companies based out of India, which we are seeing in the start-up ecosystem.”

The Hyderabad-based company, founded by four former ISRO scientists, designs rockets that can carry small satellites into low-earth orbits.

“ISRO should primarily target to replace all critical chipsets if any (where we are dependent on a single maker or vendor) that are currently being imported, with indigenous chip designs that can be manufactured in the required quantities from pure-play foundries externally,” Daka adds.

Sanjay Nekkanti, the founder of Dhruva Space, says “ISRO builds large satellites weighing over 500 kg with over 10 years’ mission life. Mission delays of 1-2 years is inevitable with space agencies given the complexities involved.”

The company, which builds satellites weighing up to 100 kg, is using commercial electronics qualified for space using proprietary screening methods, he says.

A new electronics policy, unveiled by the government in February last year, could make the country a hub for electronics manufacturing, though.

The policy aims to promote manufacturing and export along the entire electronics value chain, with an emphasis on providing a special package of incentives for mega high-tech projects, including semiconductor facilities. It also entails creating a Sovereign Patent Fund to promote the development and acquisition of intellectual property in the sector.

The thrust is on fabless chip design, and intended to boost the medical, automotive, power electronics and strategic electronics industry. The plan is to make the local electronics industry generate over $400 billion in five years.

If the policy push works as intended, India could move one step ahead in reducing electronics imports significantly by 2025.


India's lack of electronics manufacturing ecosystem is hurting Isro's space plans
 

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Bit old news. We are investing in Galileo ? Since when ? @BMD @vingensys you guys have anything more on this ?

EU SNUB: India to join European satellite project Galileo which Britain is LOCKED OUT OF

INDIA is ready to pump more than £170 million (€200million) into the EU’s Galileo satellite system, which Britain is likely to locked out of despite having invested more than £1 billion, as well as developing much of its technology.

By Ciaran McGrath
PUBLISHED: 08:01, Sat, Apr 27, 2019 | UPDATED: 08:47, Sat, Apr 27, 2019
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Narendra Modi's India is set to invest in Galileo (Image: GETTY)

However, no decision has been taken about whether India will have access to the Public Resource Signal (PRS), an encrypted service for public authorities for “security sensitive use”. A report on the Indian news website the Business Standard suggested the country’s Government was ready to invest €200million. It quoted a “European Commission official” as saying: “The Indian government is expected to take a final decision on its equity contribution for the project by June.”

The official said it was not yet clear whether India would be able to access the PRS.

Officials said it was not clear if India would have access to the Public Resource Signal (PRS), which was vital for certain commercial applications.

The official added: "Once, it is sorted out, a decision will be conveyed at the earliest.”

A European Commission spokeswoman did not dispute the accuracy of the report, but told Express.co.uk it was important to distinguish between two things.

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A Galileo satellite is launched on an Ariane rocket (Image: GETTY)

She said: “First, it is possible for third countries to access the Public Regulated Service signal ('user segment'), subject to certain preconditions.

“It is for the Council to decide whether the conditions to do so are met at the end of the negotiating process. The Council adopted negotiating mandates with US and Norway in July 2016.

She added: “Second, there are security-related restrictions for third countries when it comes to accessing information related to the evolution of Galileo, and in particular, procurement.

“Third countries (and their companies) cannot participate in the development of security sensitive matters, such as the manufacturing of PRS-security modules.

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India is set to pump £170 million into the EU's Galileo project (Image: GETTY)

“Those rules do not prevent a third country from using the encrypted signal of Galileo, provided that the relevant agreements between the EU and the third country are in place as stated above.”

Dr Stuart Eves, an independent consultant who was previously Lead Mission Concepts Engineer for Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, told Express.co.uk he would "not be greatly surprised" if India had decided to invest in Galileo.

He added: "The UK's departure from the Galileo programme creates a hole that this engagement with India may be designed to fill.

"The Indians have a regional navigation system based on GEO satellites called IRNSS.

"Historically there was proposed Chinese involvement in Galileo, but they were subsequently excluded."

The bitter row over Britain’s contribution to Galileo has been raging for more than a year.

In March 2018, the Commission confirmed the UK was likely to excluded from some aspects of the project, especially relating to PRS.

In August, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced the Government was to spend £92 million on a feasibility study to consider the development of a British rival system.

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Galileo is a major talking point in the Brexit debate (Image: GETTY)

Speaking to the BBC, UK Space Agency boss Graham Turnock said: “If we want to build our own system now we’d benefit from a lot of learning and we have a simpler project to deliver because it would not be a project that is being managed by 28 separate member states.

“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t do.

“It’s perfectly within our capability on the basis of the initial analysis we have made.”

Andrew Stroomer, business development director with Airbus Defence and Space, told Express.co.uk in October: “We would like Galileo to continue with the participation of the UK.

“But if you look at Galileo, the UK has contributed some of the most complicated parts of that.

“We don’t do everything – but we do enough to show we are capable of building such a system for the UK. From an industry point of view, we have the capability."

Just before the end of the year, Mrs May said the UK would no longer be seeking to reclaim the €1.4billion (£1.2billion) spent so far on the project, prompting the resignation of Science Minister Sam Gyimah.

Meanwhile India signalled its interest in the space sector in November by launching a rocket carrying 31 hi-tech satellites, prompted UK critics to ask why Britain STILL pays the country almost £100million a year in emergency foreign aid.

EU SNUB: India to join European satellite project Galileo which Britain is LOCKED OUT OF
Brits never disappoint us.

Screenshot_2020-01-11 EU SNUB India to join European satellite project Galileo which Britain i...png
 

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Peruvian engineers participated in UNNATI (UNispace Nanosatellite Assembly & Training by ISRO) program in India

Google translated :

Peruvian engineers participated in the Nano-satellites program in India

12:17 | Lima, Jan 10, 2020
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Engineers from the Space Agency of Peru - CONIDA participated in the program of capacity development in nanosatellites in the Republic of India, dictated by the Organization of Space Research India (ISRO) together with representatives from 15 countries.

The meeting brought together 30 professionals from the aerospace sector of Bangladesh, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brunei, Colombia, Kenya, South Korea, Mauritius, Nepal, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia and Vietnam.

This program was presented during the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space (UNISPACE +50) by the Republic of India, announcing a training program for capacity development on the development of Nanosatellites , in three events for international participants from countries around the world.

The training focused on satellite technology and nanosatellites, introducing participants to aspects of satellite design , associated subsystems and their functionality.

During the training, all participants carried out the process of Assembly, Integration and Testing (AIT) of a nanosatellite (INS-1C) in the laboratories of the Rao UR Satellite Center (URSC).

Engineers Michael Anthony Cárdenas Solano and Captain FAP Juan José Julca Yaya highlighted the importance of participation in this program. “This training is valuable for the country since it has been able to receive training in an emerging technology and of global interest from the hand of one of the most important space agencies in the world; in short, because of its cost, nanosatellites represent an attractive opportunity to bridge the gap in the technological development of Peru, ”they said.

Original link in Spanish: Ingenieros peruanos participaron en programa de Nanosatélites en la India

more :

UNNATI BATCH 2 Inaugurated

Oct 15, 2019
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During the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE+50), India announced a capacity building training programme UNNATI (UNispace Nanosatellite Assembly &Training by ISRO) on Nanosatellites development in three batches for international participants from countries around the world.

First batch of UNNATI Programme was conducted from 15th January to 15th March 2019 wherein 29 participants from 17 countries had benefitted.

The second batch of UNNATI programme was inaugurated by Chairman, ISRO/Secretary, DOS, Dr. K. Sivan at U. R. Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), Bangalore on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 in the presence of Director, URSC, Mr. P. Kunhikrishnan and Senior programme officer, UNOOSA (UN Office for Outer Space Affairs) Mr. Luc St-Pierre. In the second batch, 30 participants from 16 countries (Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Brunei Darussalam, Colombia, Kenya, Mauritius, Nepal, Nigeria, Peru, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, and Vietnam) are participating and second batch will be conducted till December 15, 2019.

The course comprises of a combination of theoretical coursework and hands-on training. As part of theoretical coursework, the participants are taken through basics of satellite technology (Module 1) and nanosatellites (Module 2). The participants would be introduced to the design aspects of satellites, the various subsystems of a satellite and their functionality, configuration evolution and post-launch mission operations. As part of hands-on training, all participants are introduced to Assembly, Integration and Testing (AIT) of Nanosatellites in the labs of URSC.

The programme promises to be very useful for the participants as well as the sponsored agencies/countries as it opens the arena for Nano satellite technology in their respective country. With this initiative, India is sharing its vast experience in satellite technology with other nations.

UNNATI BATCH 2 Inaugurated - ISRO
 

Gautam

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Brits never disappoint us.

View attachment 12977
I visit British sites because of it. The ones with alarmist headlines : "INDIA-PAK NUCLEAR WAR" or "WWIII" or "NUCLEAR EXCHANGE/HOLOCAUST/WINTER" etc and expecially ones about the space program. I visit there to read those comments and take pleasure from the burn. Salt mining as they would say on Reddit.
 

Gautam

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That OSINT/IMINT guy "detresfa_" on twitter compared the recent CARTOSAT-3 pics ISRO released with MAXAR images. Its a good idea because MAXAR's images are as good if not better that the sat images most of the world military uses. The comparison stacks up pretty good for the CARTOSAT-3, I'd say :

EN6j2ATUUAEq24a.jpg


The blurring seen maybe created by the initial operation of the camera. Space instruments often require some time in calibration before providing the performance their spec sheet promises.

EN6j2AVU0AIOnKQ.jpg


Also a point to note is that this is CARTOSAT-3's commercial imagery quality. Military grade images are never released. The images are taken using the panchromatic and multispectral imagers. IR imager wasn't used. In military use all three will be used and the pictures will be compared for better contrast and object discrimination.
 
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Antrix eyes Rs 2,000 crore revenue in coming fiscal

On the order book, Rakesh said the space agency has Rs 800 crore worth of launches in the pipeline.

By Pearl Maria D’Souza
Published: 12th January 2020 05:23 AM

For representational purposes (Photo | ISRO)

BENGALURU: Setting its sights high, Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), hopes to rake in revenue of Rs 2,000-2,200 crore from its commercial operations in the upcoming financial year. The space agency had registered revenue of Rs 1,700 crore in 2018-19.

Talking to TNSE on the sidelines of an event at Xavier Institute of Management & Entrepreneurship (XIME), Bengaluru, on Saturday, Antrix Corporation Chairman and Managing Director Rakesh Sasibhushan said the revenue will be shared between the corporation and New Space India Limited, a new commercial arm of ISRO. It was established in March 2019 for collaborating with the private sector in the manufacture of launch vehicles.

On the order book, Rakesh said the space agency has Rs 800 crore worth of launches in the pipeline. “There are three dedicated launches booked so far, from the USA and Singapore,” he said.

As of now, the Antrix does not see any revenue from the third launchpad that ISRO is setting up near Kulashekhrapattinam in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu. “The launch pad will be captively used by ISRO for small satellite launches. One launch has already been planned,” he added.

In December 2019, Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Dr Jitendra Singh, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, had mentioned about the government’s proposal for a launchpad in Tamil Nadu. The space agency already has two launch pads at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

The need for additional launch pads has arisen as a result of the increase in the number of satellite launches from India — both for domestic and international customers. ISRO has conducted 13 launches from its two launch pads since 2018 alone.

ISRO plans to have its own training facilities for astronauts at Challakere in Chitradurga district for future human spaceflight missions. This will eliminate the need to send astronauts for training in Russia. For Gaganyaan, India’s first manned space mission scheduled to be launched by 2022, the Mysuru-based DRDO lab Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL) is setting the menu for the astronauts.

Antrix eyes Rs 2,000 crore revenue in coming fiscal
 

Gautam

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Press kit is out :

GSAT-30
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GSAT-30 satellite is scheduled for launch onboard Ariane-5 launch vehicle (VA 251) from French Guiana on January 17, 2020 at 0235 hrs IST.

GSAT-30 is a communication satellite of India which is configured on ISRO’s enhanced I-3K Bus structure to provide communication services from Geostationary orbit in C and Ku bands. The satellite derives its heritage from ISRO’s earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series.

Weighing 3357 kg, GSAT-30 is to serve as replacement to INSAT-4A spacecraft services with enhanced coverage. The satellite provides Indian mainland and islands coverage in Ku-band and extended coverage in C-band covering Gulf countries, a large number of Asian countries and Australia.
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After Gaganyaan, ISRO chairman K Sivan to set sights on space station

By Ayan Pramanik, Raghu Krishnan
Updated: Jan 14, 2020, 07.22 AM IST

India has earmarked over Rs 10,000 crore for the human space flight mission, which has been in the works for nearly two decades. It moved to mission mode with tight deadlines after PM Narendra Modi turned the spotlight on the programme in his Independence Day address to the nation in 2018.


BENGALURU: The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) aims to undertake more human space flights and also build a station in the outer space, once it successfully completes its maiden mission — Gaganyaan — in 2022, Isro chairman K Sivan said. Aiming to be the fourth country to launch a human space mission from its own soil, Isro has identified the first cohort of pilots to be trained for the ambitious programme.

“Before Independence Day (in) 2022, we are targeting the first manned mission,” Isro chairman said. “We will sustain that with more (human spaceflight) missions. Then we will have our own space station,” he said in an exclusive interview with ET.

Isro has designed an autonomous 3.7 tonnes spacecraft to carry a three-member crew to space, but is likely to have only one astronaut in its maiden human space flight.

The high-profile mission — the first after Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma became the first Indian to go to space on a Russian rocket in 1984 — will see four IAF pilots head to Russia later this month to begin an intensive programme to train as astronauts. India has sought Russian help to both train its astronauts and build life support systems in the crew capsule. The spacesuits for the astronauts will also be stitched in Russia, Sivan said.

Meanwhile, Isro will send a humanoid into space later this year, the first of the two unmanned missions, using its most powerful rocket — Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MkIII. The rocket will be human rated, that is, fine-tuned to be safe enough with zero or minimum errors to carry a human crew on board.

“The humanoid will have systems that simulate human functions,” said Sivan. The space agency will carry six micro gravity experiments in the crew capsule during the two unmanned missions.

India has earmarked over Rs 10,000 crore for the human space flight mission, which has been in the works for nearly two decades. It moved to mission mode with tight deadlines after Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned the spotlight on the programme in his Independence Day address to the nation in 2018. A plan to send an Isro scientist to space on a US space shuttle was shelved in 1986 following the Challenger tragedy, when the space shuttle blew up 72 seconds into launch killing six astronauts.

Isro is also launching dedicated two communication satellites — Indian data relay satellite system (IDRSS) to ensure that the Astronauts are in constant touch with the space agency’s scientists on ground throughout the mission.

Pointing out the need for a round-the-clock communication system once a human is launched into space, Sivan said of the many options, IDRSS was the least expensive.

“I think August 2022 is a somewhat aggressive target given the complexity of human missions to Low Earth Orbit (LEO),” said Susmita Mohanty, CEO of Earth2Orbit, India’s first private space startup.

“So far, we have tested 2 unmanned capsules for atmospheric re-entry technologies: SRE-1 in January 2007 and CARE in December 2014. Isro should publish a comprehensive roadmap instead of simply announcing a target launch date.”

"I think August 2022 is a somewhat aggressive target given the complexity of human missions to Low Earth Orbit (LEO)," said Susmita Mohanty, founder and CEO of Earth2Orbit, India's first private space startup.

"So far, we have tested 2 unmanned capsules for atmospheric re-entry technologies: SRE-1 in January 2007 and CARE in December 2014. ISRO should publish a comprehensive roadmap instead of simply announcing a target launch date."

After Gaganyaan, ISRO chairman K Sivan to set sights on space station
 

Gautam

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'Funding research in astro is investing in technology'

Akhil Kadidal, Jan 14 2020, 08:33am IST
1578985097145.png

Annapurni Subramaniam, who took over as the director of the autonomous Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) recently, has a clear agenda to fill.

With a five-year mandate to improve the quality of research at the 233-year-old institute, Annapurni is on a quest to secure more funds for research even as she sets about executing several high-profile projects in the pipeline intended to elevate Indian astrophysics prowess to the pantheon of international status.

Already, IIA has involved itself in a $1.4 billion international mega-science project to build a 30-metre telescope in Hawaii, in collaboration with the US, Canada, Japan, and China. India’s contribution amounts to 10% or the “pay-in-kind” variety (in this case, hardware and software of various systems). In return, India is in a position to benefit significantly in industrial capability and scientific expertise, Annapurni explained.

Other significant projects include collaborations with the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) to deploy two advanced space observation platforms. Under Annapurni's directorship, plans are underway to enhance infrastructure at various IIA facilities across the country, even as the venerable institute accelerates the digitisation of its archives, containing a wealth of data spanning two centuries. She unveiled her plans in an exclusive interview with Akhil Kadidal of DH.

Q. What drew you to science and Astrophysics in particular ?

A. I grew up in the small Kerala town of Palakkad, a town known for its musicians and artists. My parents were both musicians. I went through my early life with a Plan B to become a musician, but the lure of astronomy was always there. It crystalised in 1986, with the appearance of Halley's comet, which was perceived to be a bad omen. I was a BSc student then. Something about this reaction prompted me to try and understand the comet, to try to explain to people that it was a celestial visitor and that there was nothing malignant about it. This drove me to try to find answers about the larger universe.

Q. So, you decided to study astrophysics for your PhD ?

A. I did, and my first place of choice was the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), but I later amended my choice to IIA, which had started accepting students because it had telescopes. Soon, I was enmeshed in studying star clusters. Supernovae scatter materials all over the galaxy and studying these materials tells you the history of the galaxy. I was drawn to these kinds of stories.

Q. You are now the director of IIA for the next five years. What are some of the projects we can hope to see under your tenure ?

A. Clearly, India’s involvement in the 30-metre telescope, under planned development in Hawaii, will continue as will the building of the National Large Solar Telescope (NLST) in Ladakh. I also hope to kick off the 10-metre-class National Large Optical-Infrared Telescope (NLOT), which will be the first of its kind in India.

Q. What is the significance of 10-metre-class telescopes ?

A. Internationally, a lot of breakthrough in science has been coming quite fast—such as the detection of gravitational waves and the imaging of a black hole, in sub-millimetre wavelength. These were all made using 10-metre-class telescopes. We would like India also to be there making such breakthroughs. However, to do so means upgrading our capabilities from the two-metre-class telescopes that we currently have. We have to start now. It is not as if a guest arrives at your home for dinner, and you say, ‘I shall now go to the market to buy ingredients.’

Q. You had a project to launch the Aditya-I, a space observation platform, with Isro. What is the status of this project ?

A. Aditya-I will be launched by the end of next year or sometime in 2021. We are starting the integration of the payload within the frame of the satellite. It is not a joke to integrate this system because Aditya is going to study the corona of the sun. This necessitated upgrading our clean-room facilities in terra firma to test the efficacy of the system. We now have a 10-particle-per-unit cleanroom at IIA’s CREST facility in Hoskote where the integration and testing are being carried out. Following Aditya, we have also proposed to launch a next-generation UV telescope into orbit.

Q. This is a separate project ?

A. Yes, this is a UV space observatory. It is called INSIST. It is an all-Indian spectroscopic Imaging space telescope, which will look at a galaxy, at a very high resolution.

Q. When can we see this project to materialise ?

A. It is in what Isro calls the pre-project phase. The technology demonstration is being carried out. If this proposal goes through, we will have a launch in the middle of the next decade. No one else will have anything like this in space.

Q. A significant chunk of IIA’s projects appears to be focused on studying the sun. Why ?

A. We are trying to find answers to an age-old question: when the temperature of the sun’s surface is about 5,580° kelvin, why then is its corona, which is highly diffuse, about a million degrees kelvin? This temperature difference is baffling. We are trying to find answers as to how energy propagates from the centre of the sun to the edge. Now, we may already know about energy transfer methods such as conduction, convection and radiation but there appears to be a new method in play in how the sun transfers energy. By deciphering this, we can have a better understanding of how stars transport energy to the surface.

Q. All of these projects and studies are being carried out in an annual budget of just Rs 150 crores ? That does not seem like a lot.

A. It is a very moderate investment by the government. Scientific achievements require significant funds. India could lose out on these discoveries. One reason why we are involved in the 30-metre telescope project is that it will give us the know-how to build 10-metre-class telescopes.

Q. How does the government feel about the scientific community's involvement in mega-science projects ?

A. The government thinks that we are taking the easy way out if we partner to get access to an international facility. But it is not completely true. We are already down the ladder and we may need to skip some steps to climb faster. Indians must join the international community where we can pool expertise. This is a paradigm shift from how things were done in the previous century.

Q. Common-folk might ask what immediate benefit to the country will any of these breakthroughs have. What would you tell them ?

A. I would tell them that by funding in astronomy, we are actually investing in technology. However, it will take a while for these technologies to mature and become commercial. One example is cell phone cameras. These actually started out as extremely expensive charged-coupled cameras built as low light detectors for scientific requirements. Now, everybody has these cameras.

'Funding research in astro is investing in technology'
 
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Nano/micro satellite

The Crucible for Research and Innovation (CORI), the University’s research wing has undertaken a project from RCI/DRDO for the development of a nano/micro satellite for space based automatic identification system (SB-AIS) payload to monitor large ships in the ocean.

According to Doreswamy, the development of the satellite costing about Rs 4 crore is entrusted to us (university) with a cash funding of Rs 2.22 crore along with critical components. All the sub systems of the satellite are ready and integration and testing are to be completed by the end of February 2020 and the satellite is expected to be launched by PSLV in April 2020.
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Source : PES University bags 1,119 placement offers this year with highest compensation of 46 lakhs
 

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GSAT-30 mission curtain raisers provide great detail of the satellite and some yet unseen internal components and integration photos :

From ISRO :


From Arianespace :

 

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Press Release: India’s communication satellite GSAT-30 launched successfully

Jan 17, 2020

India’s latest communication satellite GSAT-30 was successfully launched from the Spaceport in French Guiana during the early hours today.

The launch vehicle Ariane 5 VA-251 lifted off from Kourou Launch Base, French Guiana at 2:35 am IST carrying India’s GSAT-30 and EUTELSAT KONNECT for Eutelsat, as scheduled.

After a flight lasting 38 minutes 25 seconds, GSAT-30 separated from the Ariane 5 upper stage in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.

With a lift-off mass of 3357 kg, GSAT-30 will provide continuity to operational services on some of the in-orbit satellites. GSAT-30 derives its heritage from ISRO’s earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series and will replace INSAT-4A in orbit.

“GSAT-30 has a unique configuration of providing flexible frequency segments and flexible coverage. The satellite will provide communication services to Indian mainland and islands through Ku-band and wide coverage covering Gulf countries, a large number of Asian countries and Australia through C-band” ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan said.

Dr. Sivan also said that “GSAT-30 will provide DTH Television Services, connectivity to VSATs for ATM, Stock-exchange, Television uplinking and Teleport Services, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) and e-governance applications. The satellite will also be used for bulk data transfer for a host of emerging telecommunication applications.”

ISRO’s Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka took over the command and control of GSAT-30 immediately after its separation from the launch vehicle. Preliminary health checks of the satellite revealed its normal health.

In the days ahead, orbit-raising manoeuvres will be performed to place the satellite in Geostationary Orbit (36,000 km above the equator) by using its on-board propulsion system.

During the final stages of its orbit raising operations, the two solar arrays and the antenna reflectors of GSAT-30 will be deployed. Following this, the satellite will be put in its final orbital configuration. The satellite will be operational after the successful completion of all in-orbit tests.

Press Release: India’s communication satellite GSAT-30 launched successfully - ISRO
 
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‘Land acquisition for rocket launch facility to be over within 8 months’

Special Correspondent
January 22, 2020 19:48 IST
THOOTHUKUDI


Steps have been taken to complete the acquisition of land for the ISRO’s second rocket launch facility near Kulasekarapattinam within 8 months, Collector Sandeep Nanduri has said.

During an informal chat with reporters here on Wednesday, Mr. Sandeep said work on acquiring 2,350 acres of land for establishing ISRO’s second rocket launch facility near Kulasekarapattinam was going on. Following due notification, land acquisition would commence and the exercise would take 6 to 8 months.

After the acquisition of land is completed, it would be handed over to ISRO for formally starting the work, the Collector said.

On the progress in the work on Udangudi Thermal Power Station, Mr. Sandeep said 30% of the work on the construction of coal jetty had been completed in the sea to offload the fuel for the thermal power station. On the site, construction of the power station had commenced just now and it would take at least 18 months to complete the work, he said.

When asked about the incomplete rail overbridge at Meelavittan causing serious fatal accidents, the Collector said he had taken steps to get final clearance from the Divisional Railway Manager, Madurai, for the completion of the work at the earliest.

‘Land acquisition for rocket launch facility to be over within 8 months’