Shri S. Somanath takes over as the Chairman, DoS, another successful Vikas engine test, Skyroot raises $4.5 million, NSSS 2022 and more updates.
It has been a long while since I wrote any Antariksham issue or any blog. I got busy with some personal work and numerous weeks passed. Having lost the consistency, I didn’t know how to start again and what updates to cover. With the new year, I will start to cover the Indian Space Ecosystem biweekly through Antariksham and posts on other topics sometime in the remaining weeks. Hopefully, this run will be uninterrupted and I can now manage to write regularly every issue. Wish me luck!
This issue covers all updates starting from January 14, the day Shri S. Somanath took charge as Secretary, Department of Space.
Shri. S Somanath assumes charge as Secretary, Department of Space
Shri. S. Somanath assumed charge as Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman, Space Commission on January 14, 2022. This stint in his career starts after serving as the Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananathapuram, for the past four years. Before that, he also served as the Director of Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), Valiamala, for two and half years. <Source>
The new Chairman met Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh and discussed the status of future space missions. <Source>
ISRO Chairman presented at brief about the forthcoming missions during the next three months. He mentioned a RICAT-1A PSLV C5-2 scheduled for February 2022, OCEANSAT-3, INS 2B ANAND PSLV C-53 to be launched in March 2022 and SSLV-D1 Micro SAT in April 2022.
WION conducted an interview with the chairman.
Covid19 at SDSC-SHAR
Regional media reports suggest 91 people were diagnosed with COVID19 in Sriharikota yesterday and 142 were diagnosed today. SDSC-SHAR is apparently still operational with 50% staff strength but missions are likely to be further delayed <Source>
Meanwhile, Chairman S Somanath said that they have created a bio-bubble at Sriharikota and are devising strategies to minimize travel and contacts for developing parts for future missions. <Source>
Qualification testing of VIKAS Engine for Gaganyaan Programme
ISRO conducted a qualification test for High Thrust VIKAS Engine to be used in the Gaganyaan program on January 20. The test for carried out to verify the robustness of the engine beyond its operating capacity. <Source>
No unmanned Gaganyaan this year
Union Minister Jitendra Singh said that the first Gaganyaan uncrewed flight is now stated for early 2023. <Source>
Talk by Dr. A S Kiran Kumar on ‘ISRO Exploration Missions’
The talk covers India’s exploration missions like the Chandrayaan series, Mars Orbiter Mission, AstroSat, XPOSAT, Aditya-L1, and Disha.
Other ISRO updates and News
PSLV C52 / EOS-4 (aka RISAT-1A) launch is aimed at 14 February 2022 reports regional media. <Source> The satellite has already reached SDSC-SHAR. <Source>
Chandrayaan-3 rocket GSLV-Mk3 is reported ready and waiting for the CY-3 stack (Lander and Propulsion Module). Earlier, the propulsion module was supposed to just undertake the journey to the moon while now, it will provide a communication relay between the lander and earth station. <Source>
GSAT-24, a dedicated satellite for TataSky developed by ISRO and owned by NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) <Source> is undergoing advanced testing. It’ll be shipped to Arianespace for launch in the 1st quarter of 2022-23. <Source>
Announcement of Opportunity (AO): Soliciting proposals for AstroSat Twelfth AO cycle observations. ISRO has opened AO for AstroSat Observation Time Proposals. <Source>
Scientific Articles and Papers
The Near Ultraviolet Transient Surveyor (NUTS): An ultraviolet telescope to observe variable sources
Ambily, S., et al. "The Near Ultraviolet Transient Surveyor (NUTS): An ultraviolet telescope to observe variable sources." arXiv preprint arXiv:2201.02684 (2022).
Discussion on the subreddit by the Principal Investigator (PI) of the project.
Common Bulkhead Tank Design for Cryogenic Stage of an Indian Launch Vehicle
Singh, Y., Singh, H., Sahu, P., & R, M. (2022). Common Bulkhead Tank Design for Cryogenic Stage of an Indian Launch Vehicle. Defence Science Journal, 72(1), 3-9. https://doi.org/10.14429/dsj.72.17239
A study on the solar coronal dynamics during the post-maxima phase of the solar cycle 24 using S-band radio signals from the Indian mars orbiter mission
Richa N Jain, R K Choudhary, Anil Bhardwaj, Umang Parikh, Bijoy K Dai, Roopa M V, A study on the solar coronal dynamics during the post-maxima phase of the solar cycle 24 using S-band radio signals from the Indian mars orbiter mission, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2022; stac056, https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stac056
There is also a research article and a Twitter thread by Astro_Neel explaining the paper. Even Dr. Kiran Kumar talked about this in his talk mentioned above. <Article, Twitter Thread>
Skyroot Aerospace raised $4.5 million
Hyderabad-based space tech startup Skyroot Aerospace raised $4.5 million via bridge round to its Series-B fundraise. <Source>
Earth and Space Exploration Program 2022
Register for ESEP 2022 by 5th February to visit, stay and work in a Mars-like environment in Kutch, Gujarat, India. The program aims to support research related to astrobiology, help monitor climate change, inspire students to pursue STEAM education, and spread awareness in India.
IN-SPACe is preparing a list of ex-ISRO staff to help space startups
TOI reported that a circular has been issued by the Department of Space to all ISRO centers to consolidate a list of retired/resigned personnel along with their willingness to be approached by non-governmental entities. This list will later be shared with aspiring startups. IN-SPACe would not assist in recruiting ex-ISRO personnel but just provide contacts. <Source>
Podcasts and Discussions
National Space Science Symposium NSSS 2022
NSSS 2022 hosts scientific sessions and guest lectures in the field of planetary sciences, astrophysics, and space exploration. The event is scheduled from Jan 31 to Feb 4. The sessions can be watched live on YouTube. The complete schedule can be found at the following link: http://www.cessi.in/nsss/content/images/NSSS_2022_schedule.pdf
Experiences from UNispace Nanosatellite Assembly & Training (UNNATI) by ISRO
Aazzah talks about her experience of participating in the UNispace Nanosatellite Assembly & Training (UNNATI), a program by ISRO which intends to provide a hands-on training program for engineers from developing countries on building nanosatellites. <Link>
Launching India’s first privately built satellite
Farhan talks about the story behind ExseedSat and his experiences of working within the space industry to launch India's first privately built satellite.
Farhan is a co-founder of Exseed Space which created history on December 4, 2018, by launching India’s first privately owned satellite into space. Hitching a ride on the Elon Musk-led SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, the satellite shot for the stars! The satellite, Exseed SAT 1, was built in just 18 months by a team of eight scientists, including the founders. <Link>
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Special thanks to the r/ISRO subreddit which is my major source to reach all these articles and news.