The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its most powerful rocket today. The rocket, with a capacity to carry four-tonne communication satellites, also has the potential to carry a capsule for a manned mission to space. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle or GSLV-Mk III nicked named ‘fat boy’ demonstrated Isro’s capability in designing from scratch a homegrown solution for its rockets. After 25 hours and 30 minutes countdown, which started on Sunday afternoon, the rocket took off from the second launch pad at Sriharikota spaceport, near Chennai at 5.28 pm, as scheduled.
As the euphoria of the GSLV Mark III launch settles in, ISRO will begin to work on its future missions. The Indian space agency, looking to expand its rocket portfolio, has already started to work on a number of satellite launches. If another mission to the Moon with Chandrayaan 2 is not enough, ISRO is already planning ambitiously to reach the Sun too. There are other missions in the works, including a trip to Mars and Venus, but here is a list of 5 big projects that ISRO is currently working on:
PSLV-C38 / Cartosat-2 Series Satellite
Cartosat-2 Series Satellite mission is a follow-on mission in the Cartosat-2 Series with the primary mission objective of providing high-resolution images of specific spots. This is similar in configuration to earlier satellites in the series. The Cartosat-2 Series Satellite along with co-passenger satellites from other countries is planned to be launched by PSLV-C38 into a nominal altitude of 500 km. PSLV-C38/Cartosat-2 Series Satellite mission is scheduled to be launched during the second half of this month, from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota.
After the successful launch of the Chandrayaan in 2008, ISRO is planning to land on the Moon. Chandrayaan-2 will be India’s second mission to the Moon which will include an orbiter and lander-rover module. Chandrayaan-2 will be launched on India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-Mark III) in the first quarter of 2018. The goal of the mission will be to improve the understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon.
It is ISRO’s most ambitious project as it is planning to carry out a mission to the Sun by the year 2019 or 2020. The probe is named as Aditya-1 and will weigh about 400 kg. It is the First Indian-based Solar Coronagraph to study solar Corona in visible and near IR bands. The launch of the Aditya mission was planned during the high solar activity period in 2012 but was postponed to 2015–2016 due to the extensive work involved in the fabrication and other technical aspects. The satellite will study the various layers of the sun, including light and magnetic effects. This will provide completely new information on the velocity fields and the working of the Corona.
“Aerobic Vehicle for Transatmospheric Hypersonic Aerospace TrAnspoRtation” also known as Avatar is a concept for a manned single-stage reusable spaceplane capable of horizontal takeoff and landing, by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation along with Indian Space Research Organisation and other research institutions. The mission concept is for low-cost military and commercial satellite space launches, as well as for space tourism. The first scaled-down tests were conducted in 2016, and the first manned AVATAR flight is proposed for 2025.
GSAT-17 is a telecommunications satellite configured around I-3K extended bus with a lift-off mass of about 3,425 kg and 6 kW power generation capacity. Built by ISRO and operated by INSAT, this satellite’s will carry C-band, Lower Extended C-band and Upper Extended C-band transponders. The spacecraft will also carry a dedicated transponder for data relay and search-and-rescue services. This satellite too is scheduled to be launched during this month. But this time it will be launched by Ariane-5 launch vehicle from French Guiana.