2018 is a big year for India’s space agency ISRO, As ISRO has planned missions for each month. The Indian Space Research Organisation has already launched 3 important satellites between January 1 and April 12. Which Includes remote sensing satellite Cartosat-2 on board the PSLV-C40 rocket in January, communication satellite GSAT-6A on board GSLV-F08 rocket on March 29, and navigation satellite IRNSS-1I on board the PSLV-C41 rocket on April 12.
But this is not the end of the year. In the next 5 months, ISRO has a bunch of important missions planned. This means ISRO will average one mission every month for the year 2018 – which would be a remarkable achievement.
Here are the details of some Upcoming important missions by ISRO:
ISRO’s CHANDRAYAAN-2 is expected to be the biggest mission of all the year. Also, Chandrayaan-2 will be India’s second mission to the moon. Chandrayaan-2 will be a complete 100 percent ‘made in India’ mission. Unlike Chandrayaan-1, which only had a lunar orbiter, Chandrayaan-2 will have an orbiter, a lander, and a rover. According to ISRO’s plan, after reaching the 100 km lunar orbit. The ‘lander’ housing the ‘rover’ will separate from the ‘orbiter’. Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled to be launched no earlier than October 2018 and will attempt to soft-land a lander and rover in a high plain between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N, at a latitude of about 70° south. If successful, Chandrayaan-2 will be the first-ever mission to land a rover near the lunar south pole.
The six-welled rover will be moving around the landing site in the semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands. The instruments on the rover will observe the lunar surface and send back data, which will be useful for analysis of the Moon’s soil.
Chandrayaan-2 will weight around 3,290 kg and will orbit around the moon to perform the objectives of remote sensing the moon. Talking about the payload ISRO selected five scientific instruments for the orbiter, four for the lander, and two for the rover. While it was initially reported that NASA and ESA would participate in the mission by providing some scientific instruments for the orbiter, ISRO has later clarified that due to weight restrictions it will not be carrying foreign payloads on this mission. The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice. The Chandrayaan-2 mission is expected to launch in the month of October.
THE GSAT-11 MISSION:
GSAT-11 is a large planned Indian geostationary communications satellite. This GSAT-11 satellite has a weight of 5725 kg. The satellite is based on the new I-6K Bus and carries 40 transponders in the Ku-band and Ka-band frequencies. The payload includes Ka x Ku-band forward link transponders and Ku x Ka-band return link transponders.
Initially, the satellite was planned to launch in June 2018, But the launch is delayed after ISRO recalled it back to India from the launch site in French Guiana for additional checks weeks after ISRO lost communication to another communication satellite, the GSAT-6A, soon after its launch in March 2018. GSAT-11 will be launched from the European spaceport in French Guiana as ISRO’s own Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III) rocket can only lift a satellite weighing not more than four tonnes to Geostationary transfer orbit.
THE GSLV-Mk3-D2 / GSAT-29 MISSION:
GSAT-29 is also a GAST series satellite as above. The GSAT-29 is said to be configured around ISRO’s Enhanced I-3K Bus and will be the payload for the second developmental flight of GSLV-MkIII. This satellite will carry Ka x Ku multi-beam and optical communication payload for the first time. The mission targets for Village Resource Centres (VRC) in rural areas to bridge the digital divide.
The GSLV-MkIII-D2/GSAT-29 Mission is scheduled to be launched during the second half of 2018. “The GSLV-Mk3-D2 will launch the GSAT-29. We are going to have a host of GSLV missions like DigiSat and high-resolution remote sensing satellites,” ISRO Chairman K Sivan confirmed.
The GSAT-7A is an advanced military communications satellite meant exclusively for the Indian Air Force. It is similar to the GSAT-7 which is currently being used exclusively by the Indian Navy. The Navy’s GSAT-7 is a multi-band communication spacecraft, which has been operational since September 2013. The Indian Air Force will be the sole operator of the satellite. GSAT-7A will enable IAF to interlink different ground radar stations, ground airbase and Airborne early warning and control (AWACS) aircraft such as Beriev A-50 Phalcon and DRDO AEW&CS.
The GSAT-7A is expected to launch in this half of the year will be launched on board the Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana. The GSAT-7A satellite will be put into a geosynchronous orbit.
THE RISAT-1A MISSION:
Radar Imaging Satellite 1A, or RISAT-1A, is a planned remote sensing satellite that is similar in configuration to RISAT-1. RISAT-1A will be the third satellite in the RISAT series. RISAT-1, which was the second in the series, uses C-band 5.35 GHz synthetic aperture radar for earth observation.
It will be a land-based mission with primary application in terrain mapping and analysis of land, ocean and water surface for soil moisture. The satellite will be carrying a Synthetic Aperture Radar which will operate at 5.35 GHz in C band. Synthetic Aperture Radar can be used for earth observation irrespective of the light and weather conditions of the area being imaged.
Mars Orbiter Mission 2 (MOM 2):
The Mars Orbiter Mission 2 also known as the Mangalyaan 2 is India’s second interplanetary mission planned for the launch to Mars by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in the 2021-2022 time frame. It is said to be an Orbiter mission but might include a Lander and a rover too. In January 2016, India and France signed a letter of intent for ISRO and CNES to jointly build MOM 2 by 2020. ISRO is considering whether the best path is to conduct an orbiter/lander/rover mission. Or to opt for only an orbiter with more sophisticated instruments than those flown on Mangalyaan 1. Regardless, the ISRO promises “a major science upgrade” for the mission.
Venusian Orbiter Mission:
The Indian Venusian orbital mission is ISRO’s first ever mission on Venus. It is a planned orbiter to Venus by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to study the atmosphere of Venus. This first-ever trip to Venus will launch sometime after 2020. After the final configurations, the orbiter will have the payload capability of approximately 175 kg with 500W available power. Initial elliptical orbit around Venus is expected to have 500 km periapsis and 60,000 km apoapsis.
After watching the success of Chandrayaan and the Mars Orbiter Mission, ISRO has been studying the feasibility of future interplanetary missions to Mars and Venus, the closest planetary neighbors to Earth. The Government of India, in its budget for 2017–18 gave the Department of Space a 23% increase. Under the space sciences section, the budget mentions provisions “for Mars Orbiter Mission II and Mission to Venus”. On 19 April 2017, ISRO made an ‘Announcement of Opportunity’. Seeking payload proposals from Indian academia based on broad mission specifications.
Also, there is a potential chance of collaboration with France for the Venusian mission. In addition, French astrophysicist Jacques Blamont with his experience from Vega program expressed his interest to U. R. Rao to use inflated balloons to study the Venusian atmosphere. This Venus Mission will definitely help ISRO to discover some new and interesting facts about VENUS.
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