GSLV-F10 Launch next week, ISRO merchandise finally out, Gaganyaan Updates, Astrophysics Papers by Indian Researchers, Pixxel's First Satellite to Launch in October and more
Launch Campaign Starts Upcoming Week
The much-awaited GSLV-F10 mission is scheduled to launch once again after a series of delays since last year. The earth-observation satellite GISAT-1/EOS-03 would be the rocket's primary payload, launching on August 12th, 05:43 IST.
ISRO Merchandise is finally out, with more to come
In the previous two editions of Antariksham, we talked about ISRO merchandise arriving soon. Finally, the wait is over. ISRO released a list of vendors registered with the agency. Two companies already launched their line of products.
1947Ind. is offering ISRO apparel consisting of T-shirts and Hoodies. The designs are pretty good, but the price point is a bit high for the Indian market.
Indic Inspirations offers scaled models, mugs, jigsaw puzzles and more. There is quite a good variety of products listed, and some do seem to be reasonably priced.
The latest in Ganganyaan is the possibility of more than two uncrewed spaceflights of the capsule before the first human journey. The Gaganyaan Advisory Committee will make the final decision based on the data from the first two test flights. As TOI reported, ISRO is keeping its options open with many other decisions as well.
The first human spaceflight could be as low as one day to ascertain all system functionality, while the reentry capsule may splash in the Arabian Sea or the Bay of Bengal. Meanwhile, the astronaut candidates will start mission-specific training from this month onwards at various locations across India.
40 Indian and foreign ground stations to track Gaganyaan, covering 40% of the entire orbit.
The rest, 60%, will be covered by two new IDRSS satellites, at least one of which will be ready next year.
Tender launched by ADRDE for aerodynamic study (through wind tunnel testing) of parachutes for Gaganyaan's safe return and splashdown.
A Bhutanese satellite might launch aboard PSLV by year-end.
ISRO is helping train a team of four engineers from Bhutan to build a small satellite based on its INS bus. The first phase of training ended in March 2021, where they understood the design ideologies and finalised the design of the satellite. The satellite will be completed in phase two and finally launched aboard a PSLV later this year.
R Aravamudan, one of ISRO's early pioneers and tracking & telemetry expert, no more
Ramabhadran Aravamudan, a veteran of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), breathed his last, late on Wednesday, at his Bengaluru residence. The following article summarises his life at ISRO quite well: link.
Other ISRO Updates
The maiden flight of SSLV - Small Satellite Launch Vehicle is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2021. - source
Chandrayaan-3 is likely to launch in the third quarter of 2022. - source
ISRO instrumentation team is working at JPL for the NISAR mission. The integrated payload will arrive in India in 2022 to integrate with the spacecraft and launch onboard GSLV-MkII. - source
Department of Space is seeking comments from Public/stakeholders on draft 'Indian Satellite Navigation Policy-2021 (SATNAV Policy-2021).'
North-East Space Activities Centre, ISRO conducted a meeting on diverting Brahmaputra water during monsoon to 5902 sq km of the wetland. This change is likely to benefit Assam immensely. - source
Ahumada, T., Singer, L.P., Anand, S. et al. Discovery and confirmation of the shortest gamma-ray burst from a collapsar. Nat Astron (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41550-021-01428-7
"Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are among the brightest and most energetic events in the Universe. The duration and hardness distribution of GRBs has two clusters1, now understood to reflect (at least) two different progenitors2. Short-hard GRBs (SGRBs; T90 < 2 s) arise from compact binary mergers, and long-soft GRBs (LGRBs; T90 > 2 s) have been attributed to the collapse of peculiar massive stars (collapsars)3. The discovery of SN 1998bw/GRB 980425 (ref. 4) marked the first association of an LGRB with a collapsar, and AT 2017gfo (ref. 5)/GRB 170817A/GW170817 (ref. 6) marked the first association of an SGRB with a binary neutron star merger, which also produced a gravitational wave. Here, we present the discovery of ZTF20abwysqy (AT2020scz), a fast-fading optical transient in the Fermi satellite and the Interplanetary Network localisation regions of GRB 200826A; X-ray and radio emission further confirm that this is the afterglow. Follow-up imaging (at rest-frame 16.5 days) reveals excess emission above the afterglow that cannot be explained as an underlying kilonova, but which is consistent with being the supernova. Although the GRB duration is short (rest-frame T90 of 0.65 s), our panchromatic follow-up data confirm a collapsar origin. GRB 200826A is the shortest LGRB found with an associated collapsar; it appears to sit on the brink between a successful and a failed collapsar. Our discovery is consistent with the hypothesis that most collapsars fail to produce ultra-relativistic jets."
Singhal, Akshat, et al. 'Deep Co-Added Sky from Catalina Sky Survey Images'. ArXiv:2108.00029 [Astro-Ph], July 2021. arXiv.org, http://arxiv.org/abs/2108.00029.
"A number of synoptic sky surveys are underway or being planned. Typically they are done with small telescopes and relatively short exposure times. A search for transient or variable sources involves comparison with deeper baseline images, ideally obtained through the same telescope and camera. With that in mind we have stacked images from the 0.68~m Schmidt telescope on Mt. Bigelow taken over ten years as part of the Catalina Sky Survey. In order to generate deep reference images for the Catalina Real-time Transient Survey, close to 0.8 million images over 8000 fields and covering over 27000~sq.~deg. have gone into the deep stack that goes up to 3 magnitudes deeper than individual images. CRTS system does not use a filter in imaging, hence there is no standard passband in which the optical magnitude is measured. We estimate depth by comparing these wide-band unfiltered co-added images with images in the g-band and find that the image depth ranges from 22.0--24.2 across the sky, with a 200-image stack attaining an equivalent AB magnitude sensitivity of 22.8. We compared various state-of-the-art software packages for co-adding astronomical images and have used SWarp for the stacking. We describe here the details of the process adopted. This methodology may be useful in other panoramic imaging applications, and to other surveys as well. The stacked images are available through a server at Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA)."
Pixxel's Satellite Anand to launch soon
The Indian Hyperspectral Imaging startup, Pixxel, expects to launch its first satellite onboard the next PSLV in October. The satellite was initially planned to launch on PSLV-C51 earlier this year, but technical issues delayed the mission.
Awais Ahmed, founder and CEO, mentioned that the issues had been straightened out, and all testing is complete on the satellite. Meanwhile, another satellite is nearing completion, with a launch expected in December. Pixxel is aiming for 2023 to complete its 36 satellite constellation.
MARS: Mars Amity Research Station tests their MASCOT rover
Mars Amity Surface Characterisation Operations Trainer (MASCOT-1) rover, built by students and researchers at Amity Centre of Excellence in Astrobiology, ACOEA, was tested near a high-alt glacial lake in Ladakh last week.
Other NewSpace India Updates
Dhurva Space was shortlisted as one of the twelve startups in the Qualcomm Design in India Challenge 2021. - source
Follow Agnikul's blog on Medium: What really is a "single piece" rocket engine & why do we make these at Agnikul?
Why We Invested In Digantara - Kalaari Capital
Podcasts and Discussions
Clubhouse Space Clubs: Small Steps & Giant Leaps, every Friday
A diplomat's experience of dealing with ISRO and India's space interests: Ambassador Rakesh Sood talks about his career and experiences as an Indian diplomat who handled outer space-related issues.