After successful Chandrayaan-I mission which was meant to orbit the Moon, India is gearing up to launch Chandrayaan-II by 2016-17, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan said on Friday, 10 January 2014.
Chandrayaan-I, India’s first unmanned lunar probe was launched using a PSLV-XL rocket by ISRO in 2008. The spacecraft was orbiting around the Moon at a height of 100 km from the lunar surface for chemical, mineralogical and photo-geologic mapping of the Moon.
Chandrayaan-II is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission to Moon. ISRO’s capability to soft-land on the lunar surface will be demonstrated with this mission.
Chandrayaan-II was supposed to be an Indo-Russia joint mission, but after failed Phobos-Grunt mission (Russian Mars mission) in 2011, Russia decided to review it. The review would have put our mission on hold till 2017, so ISRO decided to go ahead on our own and build our own lander and rover. ISRO has done a feasibility study and would be able to develop a lander and rover in 2-3 years. Now Chandrayaan-II will have indigenously developed rover and a lander using the Geo-Synchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV).
Mr. Radhakrishnan, however, added that there were a few technological elements in a lander which need to be developed, like reducing the velocity of a lander as it comes for soft landing, development the mechanism involved in a lander and to locate precisely where to land by taking pictures and then steering the lander to landing place.
[Courtesy – The Hindu, HT]
GSAT-14 is the 23rd geostationary communication satellite of India built by ISRO. It has a life span of 12 years. This satellite carries 12 transponders (6 extended C-band and 6 Ku-band transponders) and it will be useful for telecommunication, broadcasting television programmes, telemedicine and beaming tele-education programmes for college students.
It also carries two 2 Ka-band Beacons operating at 20.2 GHz and 30.5 GHz to carry out attenuation studies and research into how weather affects satellite communications.
This is the first domestic satellite to be successfully placed in orbit by the GSLV-MkII. An earlier launch attempt on 19 August 2013 was scrubbed due to second stage fuel leak in launch vehicle. Finally, the satellite was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, atop a GSLV-D5 rocket at on 5 January 2014. The significance of the GSLV-D5 mission was that it featured an indigenous upper cryogenic stage.
GSLV-MkII is 3 staged launch vehicle mighty enough to lift heavy communication satellites. Its first stage comprises solid booster with four liquid strap-ons, second stage is liquid engine and the third stage is a cryo stage.
Leaving behind its past failures, Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) heavy rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Development 5 (GSLV-D5) cruised through the Earth’s atmosphere to successfully place GSAT-14 communications satellite into the orbit on Sunday.
GSLV-D5 with the indigenous cryogenic engine lifted-off successfully as per schedule from the spaceport at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. With the successful launch of GSLV-D5 flight India has now become the sixth nation to possess the cryogenic engine technology, and has joined the elite club of the United States, Russia, France, Japan and China. A cryogenic engine is more efficient as it provides more thrust for every kilogram of propellant burnt. Cryogenic fuels are extremely clean as they give out only water while burning.
The Rs 356 crore mission’s success comes as a big relief for ISRO after two back-to-back failures of the GSLV flights in 2010 — the first, with an indigenous cryogenic engine, on April 15 and the next, with a Russian cryogenic engine, on December 25. The last GSLV launch on August 19, 2013 was called off minutes before the take-off due to leakage of liquid fuel from the rocket’s second stage. According to ISRO, several design changes had been incorporated in GSLV-D5 rocket after studying the past GSLV rockets and reasons behind their failure.
The successful flight of GSLV is the first step towards building rockets that can carry heavier payloads, up to four tonnes. The cryogenic engine technology will help the Indian agency save precious foreign exchange by launching communication satellites by itself than depending on foreign rockets. This success will also give a major boost to Indian Space Missions. Chadrayaan-II and many future missions are based on GSLV.
The cuboid shaped Rs. 45 crore GSAT-14 is India’s 23rd geostationary satellites built by ISRO. It has a life span of 12 years. The 1,982 kg satellite carries six extended C-band and Ku-band transponders (receivers and transmitters of signals), and two Ka-band becons.
(Courtesy: The Hindu, Zee Media)