Tag Archives: Space

GSLV Mk-III X : First Experimental Flight Successful

gslvmk3

The first experimental flight of India’s next generation launch vehicle GSLV Mk-III was successfully conducted on December 18, 2014 morning from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. Also known as LVM3, this suborbital experimental mission was intended to test the vehicle performance during the critical atmospheric phase of its flight and this carried passive (non functional) cryogenic upper stage.

THE SUCCESS TALE 

The mission began with the launch of GSLV Mk-III at 9:30 am IST as scheduled and about 5.4 minutes later, carried its payload – the 3.8 ton Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) – to the intended height of 126 km. Following this, CARE separated from the upper stage of GSLV Mk-III and re-entered the atmosphere and safely landed over Bay of Bengal with the help of its parachutes about 20 minutes 43 seconds after lift-off.

The total budget of the experimental mission was Rs 155 crore, including the crew module, which cost Rs 15 crore. A few years back Isro had carried out a similar experiment, Space-capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE), on a smaller scale by PSLV in which the module had orbited around the earth for 15 days before entering back.

SIGNIFICANCE 

With this successful GSLV Mk-III X / CARE mission, the vehicle has moved a step closer to its first developmental flight with the functional C25 cryogenic upper stage. It will be the ISRO’s most powerful rocket, capable of putting four-tonne communication satellites into orbit. This launch was also an early test of a crew module being developed for human space flight.

RELATED ARTICLE : GSLV MARK III – ITS FIRST EXPERIMENTAL FLIGHT

Rosetta – Philae : First ever Landing on Comet

Rosetta

Rosetta is a robotic space probe built and launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) which is performing a detailed study of comet 67P. Rosetta was launched on 2 March 2004 on an Ariane 5 rocket and reached the comet on 6 August 2014, becoming the first spacecraft to orbit a comet. On 12 November 2014, Rosetta mission soft-landed its Philae probe on the camet. It is part of the ESA Horizon 2000 cornerstone missions.

THE SPACECRAFT 

The spacecraft consists of two main elements: the Rosetta space probe orbiter and the Philae robotic lander. The Rosetta mission will orbit 67P for 17 months and is designed to complete the most detailed study of a comet ever attempted. The mission is controlled from the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), Germany.

NAME & ANALOGY 

The probe is named after the Rosetta Stone, a stele of Egyptian origin featuring a decree in three scripts. The lander is named after the Philae obelisk bearing a bilingual Greek and Egyptian hieroglyphic inscription. A comparison of its hieroglyphs with those on the Rosetta Stone catalysed the deciphering of the Egyptian writing system. Similarly, it is hoped that these spacecraft will result in better understanding of comets and the early Solar System. In a more direct analogy to its namesake, the Rosetta spacecraft also carries a micro-etched nickel alloy Rosetta disc donated inscribed with 13,000 pages of text in 1200 languages.

FIRST EVER LANDING ON COMET 

On 12 November 2014, ESA’s Rosetta mission soft-landed its Philae probe on comet 67P, the first time in history that such an extraordinary feat has been achieved. During the next phase of the mission, Rosetta will accompany the comet through perihelion (August 2015) until the end of the mission. On its 10 year journey towards comet 67P, the spacecraft has passed by two asteroids: 2867 Steins (in 2008) and 21 Lutetia (in 2010).

SNIFFING ORGANIC MOLECULES ON COMET 

Scientists confirmed that the European comet lander Philae had ‘sniffed’ organic molecules on 67P containing carbon elements by its Cometary Sampling and Composition (COSAC) gas analysing instrument. The lander also drilled into the comet’s surface in its hunt for organic molecules, although it is unclear as yet whether Philae managed to deliver a sample to COSAC for analysis.

ABOUT EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY 

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space. ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities. Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.

GSLV Mark III ready for mission

GSLV-MK_III

India took the first step on Friday, 28th March 2014 towards the experimental mission of its gigantic GSLV-Mk III (Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III) when the rocket’s core stage, weighing more than 110 tonnes, was flagged off from the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu, to Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

The GSLV-Mk III in this flight will carry a crew capsule without astronauts. The rocket will reach an altitude of less than 100 km. The capsule will return to earth with the help of parachutes. Its upper cryogenic stage will not fire. Instead of cryogenic propellants, the cryogenic stage would carry liquid nitrogen, which would be inert. The mission will take place in June or first week of July.

GSLV-Mk III is powered by an indigenous cryogenic engine. It can put a communication satellite weighing four tonnes into geo-synchronous transfer orbit or a 10-tonne satellite into low-earth orbit.  It will also serve as vehicle to carry astronauts to space after initial experiments.

Lasers to distroy Space Junk

Spacejunk

An Australian team is working on a project to zap orbital debris with lasers from Earth to reduce the growing amount of space junk that threatens to knock out satellites with a “cascade of collisions”.

Scientists believe there are more than 300,000 pieces of debris in space, made up of everything from tiny screws and bolts to large parts of rockets, mostly moving in low orbits around Earth at tremendous speed. Australia now has a contract with Nasa, the US space agency, to track and map space junk with a telescope equipped with an infra-red laser at Mount Stromlo Observatory.

$20 million from the Australian government and $40 million in private investment will help the team set up as the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) to develop better lasers to track tiny pieces of debris, importing techniques from astronomy used to remove the blurring of the atmosphere.

The ultimate aim is to increase the power of the lasers to illuminate and zap pieces of junk so they burn up harmlessly as they fall through the upper atmosphere.

[Credit – TOI]