Antariksham Weekly #01
ISRO's maiden flight for the year 2021 is successful with PSLV-C51 launching 18 satellites along with Amazonia-1. Pixxel's Anand Satellite couldn't make it in this launch.
PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 Mission successfully completed
On the occasion of national science day, ISRO completed its first orbital mission for the year 2021. The mission launched a total of 19 satellites with the Amazonia-1, from Brazil being the primary passenger.
Amazonia-1 is Brazil's first remote sensing satellite to study deforestation in the Amazon region of South America. Just after the ejection of the satellite, nominal operations were also confirmed through the first signals. Along with the Brazilian satellite, PSLV-C51 carried four other Indian satellites: InSpace contracts, while the other 14 satellites were under NSIL (New Space India Limited) contract.
Student Satellites (InSpace)
The four Indian satellites were student satellites, three of them being UNITYsats, designed and built as a joint development by Jeppiaar Institute of Technology, Sriperumbudur (JITsat), G.H.Raisoni College of Engineering, Nagpur (GHRCEsat) and Sri Shakti Institute of Engineering and Technology, Coimbatore (Sri Shakthi Sat). Finally, the last one was Satish Dhawan Sat (SDSAT) from Space Kidz India, a space-education company that launched payloads onboard PSLV Stage 4 earlier.
As per the ISRO brochure, the UNITYsats will provide radio relay services which stand for Ham Radio Repeaters, I believe, but I couldn't find any other information about these satellites. Whether the UNITYsat is healthy is unknown.
The SDSAT has a LoRa transmission payload and is known to be alive and healthy in space. While the satellite signals have been received, SATNOGS (Satellite Networked Open Ground Station), free software and open-source satellite ground station network, tweeted that the satellite is interfering with the INNOSAT-2 signals.
Commercial Payloads (NSIL)
This PSLV launch was the first dedicated mission of the NSIL arm of the Department of Space. The 14 other satellites apart from Amazonia-1 were the SindhuNetra, NanoConnect-2 and 12 SpaceBees.
SindhuNetra is a DRDO earth observation satellite developed by the PES University. According to an ANI report, the satellite is already in position and has also started communicating with the ground systems.
The SpaceBees are small 0.25U (2.5 X 10 X 10 cm) satellites developed by USA based Swarm Technologies for two-way satellite communication and data relay. Swarm Technologies shared that the SpaceBees are also healthy and sending required data.
Finally, the NanoConnect-2 is a 2U (20 X 10 X 10 cm) satellite carrying Space-AI's SDR payload and a payload by the Space Instrumentation Laboratory (LINX) of The National University of Mexico (UNAM) to validate the use of the Globalstar satellite phone network as a secondary channel on nanosatellites.
In the post-launch conference, Dr K Sivan, chairman of ISRO, said that the agency is eyeing a total of 7 launches this year. This number includes the Gaganyaan first unmanned launch.
Pixxel’s Anand Satellite did not Launch
While the PSLV launched on Sunday, the Indian Startup, Pixxel’s satellite called Anand could not launch along with it. The company’s CEO, Awais Ahmed tweeted that the software tests resulted in some issues. I wrote the following article explaining the aerospace engineering behind the launch scrub.
Residential Skill Development programme in Aerospace Welding and CNC machining
Talks and Podcasts
NewSpace India Podcast
This week’s NewSpace India Podcast features Dr Deganit Paikowsky from Israel. She shares the history of the Israeli Space Programme. Along the way, she and Narayan Prasad discuss the similarities between India and Israel and their relations.
K. Radhakrishnan - Former Chairman, ISRO | Man Behind 'Mangalyaan'
A QnA session with Dr K Radhakrishnan. He talks about his journey in ISRO and various achievements along the way. He also discusses India’s current space ambitions and where it stands in the worldwide context. I would strongly urge everyone to listen to this talk! It is quite insightful.
All Things Policy Ep. 520: Reaching for the Heavens Via India
An interview with the Mission Director of the Brazilian Satellite: Amazonia-1. He shares his long journey of satellite design and development in the remote sensing program of Brazil.