Antariksham Weekly #02
ISRO released Annual Report 2020-21, MOM calls home for 10 minutes every day, CY-3 Phase-3 testing tenders and some upcoming virtual talks
ISRO Annual Report 2020-21
The Indian Space Agency, ISRO released the Annual Report for the financial year 2020-21 on 4th March. The report provides much more clarity on ISRO's current and upcoming missions. You can watch a video by Gareeb Scientist on the critical updates on this link.
A few extra points I felt he missed:
Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) Description (Pg No 10)
The Centre will develop necessary expertise to sustain the human space flight activities in the country including capability to build orbiting space station and become active partners in collaborative interplanetary manned missions to Moon/Mars and near-Earth Asteroids.
To have such a goal in writing means ISRO is serious with the Human Space Flight Programme and hopes to take it further than a few orbital missions.
Satellite Applications and Science Missions
Many applications of different earth observation (remote sensing) and communication satellites are mentioned in the report. I believe these don't get much coverage as compared to technical aspects like launch and upcoming missions.
The science outputs from missions such as Astrosat and Chandrayaan-2 are covered along with the upcoming missions: Aditya-L1 and XPoSat.
You can download and read the whole document here.
Upcoming First Launch of RH-560 Mk III Sounding Rocket
The RH (Rohini) class of sounding rockets of ISRO have been around almost since the inception of the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS). The latest and most heavy sounding rocket in this series, RH-560 Mk III, will soon have its first flight from the Sriharikota Launch Range. (Yes, SHAR also has a sounding rocket launch pad along with two launch vehicle pads.)
While there is no official announcement about the rocket launch, a NOTAM regarding the launch was enforced for 12th to 16th March.
A0564/21 (Issued for VOMF VECF PART 1 OF 3) - RH-560 MKIII SOUNDING ROCKET LAUNCH FM SHAR RANGE,SRIHARIKOTA
WILL TAKE PLACE AS PER FLW DETAILS. THE LAUNCH WILL BE ON ANY ONE OF THE DAY DRG THIS PERIOD.
ACTUAL DATE OF LAUNCH WILL BE INTIMATED AT LEAST 24 HR IN ADVANCE THROUGH A SEPARATE NOTAM.
LAUNCH PAD COORD:134144N0801405E.
NO FLT IS PERMITTED OVER THE DNG ZONES.
1)DNG ZONE -1 IS A CIRCLE OF 05NM AROUND THE LAUNCHER
2)DNG ZONE -2 IS A SECTOR BTN RADII OF 05NM AND 25NM FM THE LAUNCH PAD COORD AND BTN AZM ANGLES 080 DEG AND 120 DEG FM TRUE NORTH
3)DNG ZONE-3 IS A SECTOR BTN RADII OF 250NM AND 450NM FM THE LAUNCH PAD COORD AND BTN AZM ANGLES 080 DEG AND 120 DEG FM TRUE NORTH PART 1 OF 3. 1330-1430, 12 MAR 13:30 2021 UNTIL 16 MAR 14:30 2021.
CREATED: 03 MAR 10:05 2021
Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) calls home every day.
You may have noticed that I did not mention the MOM while discussing the Annual Report. The reason was that ISRO featured only a small paragraph with no updates in the report. Recently, a ham (amateur radio) operator, @df2mz, shared that MOM calls Earth for 10 minutes every day, and there is no lock to any station. This could mean that no one picking up the call.
On 3rd March, though, there was some extra activity in addition to the 10 minutes call.
All these signs could also mean that the person being in Germany cannot see the uplink signals being sent from Bangalore and ISRO receives the downlink signals without a lock. I do hope that is the case and not that ISRO has forgotten the mission.
Clearing ISRO Land in Challakare, Karnataka for CY-3 phase 3 testing
A lot of updates about ISRO are speculations made through tenders by some of the Redditors of r/isro. The most recent one is that ISRO could perform the Chandryaan-3 phase 3 landing tests in April 2021. The user r/pradx shared the tender clearing some bushes in the Challakre land of ISRO. As seen in the image taken from Google Maps, a lot of CY-2 testing craters are there.
If you have followed some earlier r/isro discussions or saw the Gareeb Scientist Annual Report video, you would know the importance of this land. The Human Space Flight Centre, along with a residential township, is planned on the same land. The RLV landing experiment planned for sometime same as CY-3 landing tests is also planned in a nearby DRDO runway.
PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 Mission Updates
All the satellites launched by the PSLV-C51 mission are functioning and have started sending data except the UNITYSats trio. There have been multiple tweets and posts on the librespace forum indicating the same.
The primary satellite Amazonia-1 sent its first images back to the ground station at INPE, Brazil. The following official video shows the images.
Talks and Conferences
Virtual IIRS Academia Meet (VIAM) -2021
Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), a constituent unit of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is organizing a Virtual Academia Meet on 16th March. IIRS conducts such a meet (earlier called as IIRS User Interaction Meet) every year since 2013. This year the topic is Technological trends in Capacity Building for Disaster Management Support. You can register at the following link:
Space Exploration - Challenges and Opportunities
Abstract for the talk
Space exploration poses a variety of technological and human-related challenges owing to which crewed spaceflight has been mostly confined to the vicinity of Earth, while unmanned space exploration has gone far beyond the solar system. The hazards of the space environment include extremes of temperature, space radiation and the danger of impact with a micrometeorite or orbital debris. The talk discusses the technical challenges to be overcome to expand the frontiers of space exploration and the enabling technologies to sustain life in the hostile space environment. The potential research areas in this domain are also touched upon.
Paris Space Week
Manastu Space, an Indian Space Startup working on green propulsion technologies for satellites, will present at the Paris Space Week. The event is hybrid being held on 9-10th March.
Virtual Exhibition on Indo-France Space Partnership
The French Institute in India has initiated a project to document the scientific partnership between India and France. Their first blog featured “Indian and France in Space”. It is a highly intriguing collection that exhibits many historical Indo-France Space Missions.
Other News Articles
If you believe I missed something or you would like to share some updates/news for the next edition, please comment below.