Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) sets world record and India confirms missions to Mars and Venus
ISRO put 104 satellites in space using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Three satellites will be from India and a 101 other satellites of different countries. Eighty-eight (88) of the American satellites belong to a San Francisco based start-up company Planet Inc..
Russia’s Dnepr launcher holds the record for lifting 37 satellites to orbit in June 2014.
BENGALURU- India will boldly go to Venus for the first time and re-visit the Red Planet very soon. Buried and hidden in the hundreds of pages of the new-format electronic budget documents, is the first formal acknowledgement by the government of India about these two new bold inter-planetary sojourns to Earth’s immediate neighbors. This uplifting news comes ahead of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) attempting to undertake its mega launch where it will place not five, ten or twenty, but a record 104 satellites in space in a single mission. No other country has ever tried to hit a century in a single mission.
If all goes according to plan, on the morning of February 15, 2017 ISRO will put 104 satellites in space using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Three satellites will be from India and a 101 other satellites of different countries.
India’s ISRO, considered a leading space organization globally, is one of the best and most competitive in the multi-billion-dollar space launch market. It hopes to set an enviable benchmark for other nations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made science and technology, research and space programs as one of his government’s top priorities. To give it a boost, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has given the Department of Space a massive 23 per cent increase in this year’s budget. Under the space sciences section, the budget mentions provisions for “Mars Orbiter Mission II and Mission to Venus”.
The second mission to Mars is tentatively slated for 2021-2022 and as per existing plans it might even involve putting a robot (rover) on the surface of the Red Planet. While India’s first mission to Mars undertaken in 2013 was a purely Indian mission, the French space agency has shown keenness to collaborate in making the Mars rover for the second mission.
During a visit to India this month, Michael M Watkins, Director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said they would be keen to at least put a telematics module so that NASA’s rovers and the Indian satellites are able to communicate with each other.
The second Indian mission to Mars will aim at exploring the planet in detail from its surface as the first mission – the Mars Orbiter Mission or MOM – is performing well from while orbiting the planet.
India’s maiden mission to Venus, the second planet in our solar system, is likely to be an orbiter mission, similar to the first mission to mars.
Eighty-eight of the American satellites belong to a San Francisco based start-up company Planet Inc which is sending a swarm of small satellites – 4.7 kg each, which it calls ‘Doves’. This constellation will image earth like never before and with a high repeat rate providing satellite imagery at an affordable cost. This suite of 101 small satellites, whose combined weight is 664 kg, will be released in space in a manner akin to a typical school bus which drops off children at their respective bus stops in a sequential manner.
From previous launches, ISRO has mastered the art of ensuring that no collisions take place. In less than 600 seconds all 101 satellites will be released into space each travelling at a velocity of over 27,000 km per hour or at 40 times the speed of an average passenger airliner.
17 minutes into the launch, the CartoSat-2D will be the first to separate. The satellite has a mass of 714 kg and is the heaviest satellite on board.
The CartoSat-2D is powered by two solar panels and lithium ion batteries, and has its own fuel.
The CartoSat-2D is the fifth earth observation satellite in the CartoSat series, Isro had previously placed into orbit the CartoSat-2, CartoSat-2A, CartoSat-2B and CartoSat 2C.
Isro Nano Satellite
INS is a modular nanosatellite bus system, similar in concept to the CubeSat standard. The INS-1A weighs 8.4 kg and has on board two science payloads.
The INS-1B is also a modular nanosatellite, and will be deployed into orbit after INS-1A. At 9.7 kg, INS-1B is slightly heavier than the other Indian nanosatellite on board. On board is an experimental payload from the SAC, an origami camera with a novel lens assembly that can take high resolution images of the Earth using a small package.
Dove Satellites (88) [USA]
88 Dove satellites from Planet labs will be released in pairs. The satellites are part of a constellation of 100 Earth imaging satellites.
The 88 satellites are themselves a record of sorts for Isro and Planet Labs.
LEMUR Satellites (8) [USA]
Lemur-2 nanosatellites based on the CubeSat standard. The Lemur satellites are owned and managed by Spire Global, and are a part of a constellation of satellites that track ships in open waters.
PiezoElectric Assisted Smart Satellite Structure
PEASSS [The Netherlands]
(PEASSS) is a 3 kg technology demonstration nanosatellite from the Netherlands. The satellite is meant to test and qualify cutting edge “smart structures”, which combine composite panels, piezoelectric materials and next generation sensors.
The DIDO-2 is a 4.2 kg microgravity research nanosatellite built by SpacePharma from Switzerland. The satellite is a platform for conducting biochemical and physical experiments in microgravity, allowing scientists to investigate phenomena that are normally obscured by gravity on Earth.
The BGUSat is a 4.3 kg technology demonstration nanosatellite from Israel. Israeli Aerospace Industries has built the satellite in cooperation with students from the Ben Gurion University. The main objective of the mission is so that students can learn the planning and development of satellites.
The Al-Farabi-1 is a 1.7 kg technology demonstration nanosatellite from Kazakhstan. The Al-Farabi-1 is the first student nanosatellite from Kazakhstan, and is built by the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University.
The Nayif-1 is a 1.1 kg technology demonstration nanosatellite from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Nayif-1 has been built by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai and the American University of Sharjah (AUS) and is the smallest and lightest passenger on board.
Video: Insight into India’s record satellite launch and future ambitions
Video: ISRO launches a record 104 satellites on board single rocket