In­dia’s space pro­gramme: Makes us proud

SP's MAI - - AEROSPACE - [ By Air Mar­shal (Retd) Anil Cho­pra]

In­dia’s space pro­gramme took off in right earnest with the set­ting up of the In­dian Space Re­search Or­gan­i­sa­tion (ISRO) in 1969. It is one in­sti­tu­tion that all In­di­ans are really proud of. In 1975, ISRO launched In­dia’s first satel­lite Aryab­hata, aboard a Soviet rocket and In­dia’s space pro­gramme came of age when ‘Ro­hini’ satel­lite was put into or­bit us­ing the first In­dian Satel­lite Launch Ve­hi­cle (SLV-3) in 1980. The later vari­ants of launch ve­hi­cles, Aug­mented Satel­lite Launch Ve­hi­cle (ASLV), Po­lar Satel­lite Launch Ve­hi­cle (PSLV) and Geosyn­chronous Satel­lite Launch Ve­hi­cle (GSLV) have put into or­bit a large num­ber of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and earth ob­ser­va­tion satel­lites. With ` 5,600 crore bud­get for 2013-14, it is among the six big­gest space pro­grammes in the world; oth­ers be­ing USA, Rus­sia, China, Euro­pean Space Agency (ESA) and Ja­pan.

The ini­tial satel­lites were for tech­nol­ogy as­sim­i­la­tion. Aryab­hata gave In­dia the ex­pe­ri­ence to build and op­er­ate a satel­lite while the Bhaskara se­ries were for re­mote sens­ing. The Ro­hini se­ries helped de­velop satel­lite launcher SLV-3 and sub­se­quently the ASLV. The first ex­per­i­men­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tion satel­lite was launched on ESA Ari­ane-1 rocket.

The INSAT (In­dian Na­tional Satel­lite) se­ries, the big­gest satel­lite pro­gramme in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, was es­sen­tially a joint ven­ture be­tween the De­part­ment of Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion, De­part­ment of Space, In­dia Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal De­part­ment (IMD), Do­or­dar­shan, and All In­dia Ra­dio. INSAT-1A was launched on April 1982 for multi-pur­pose com­mu­ni­ca­tions and me­te­o­rol­ogy. INSAT-1B, C&D fol­lowed. The first op­er­a­tional re­mote sens­ing satel­lite was IRS-1A put into or­bit in March 1988.

The Satish Dhawan Space Cen­tre at Sri­harikota, off the coast line in Andhra Pradesh, is a multi-pad main launch site. The Vikram Sarab­hai Space Cen­tre in Trivan­drum is the main devel­op­ment cen­tre for rock­ets and it de­vel­ops satel­lites and re­ceives, pro­cesses, ar­chives and dis­trib­utes pay­load data in real time. The Master Con­trol Fa­cil­ity at Has­san con­trols the satel­lites and tracks and mon­i­tors long dis­tances, even be­yond the moon.

Se­ri­ous Busi­ness

INSAT-2 se­ries were the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion long life satel­lites launched from 1992 on­wards and most of them are still op­er­a­tional. The first PSLV-D1 in Septem­ber 1993 could not put the IRS1E satel­lite into or­bit. In Oc­to­ber 1994, the PSLV-D2 was suc­cess­fully launched. The IRS-P4 car­ried an ocean colour mon­i­tor (OCM) and a multi-fre­quency scan­ning mi­crowave ra­diome­ter (MSMR). INSAT-3B was a multi-pur­pose satel­lite for mo­bile com­mu­ni­ca­tions. GSAT-1 was the ex­per­i­men­tal satel­lite to test first GSLV-D1 in April 2001. Tech­nol­ogy Ex­per­i­ment Satel­lite (TES) launched on a PSLV in Oc­to­ber 2001 was to test or­bital con­trol sys­tems. In­dia’s first ex­clu­sive ed­u­ca­tional satel­lite, EDUSAT was the first op­er­a­tional pay­load of GSLV in Oc­to­ber 2004. INSAT-4A in De­cem­ber 2005 was the ad­vanced satel­lite for di­rect-to-home tele­vi­sion broad­cast­ing ser­vices that changed the way of life in mid­dle-class homes. CAR­TOSAT se­ries from May 2005 pro­vided higher res­o­lu­tion sub 2.5-me­tre im­agery. Space cap­sule Re­cov­ery Ex­per­i­ment (SRE-1) was launched aboard a PSLV in Jan­uary 2007.

In Oc­to­ber 2008, ISRO launched its am­bi­tious un­manned lu­nar probe Chan­drayaan-1 with sci­en­tific in­stru­ments from many coun­tries. RISAT-2, a Radar imag­ing satel­lite, ac­quired from Is­rael for $110 mil­lion, for mon­i­tor­ing In­dia’s bor­ders against in­fil­tra­tion was launched in April 2009. The RISAT-1 launched in April 2012 was the first in­dige­nous all-weather Radar Imag­ing Satel­lite to sup­port agri­cul­ture and dis­as­ter man­age­ment. GSAT-10 ad­vanced com­mu­ni­ca­tion satel­lite was launched aboard Ari­ane5VA-209 rocket. SARAL, the lat­est satel­lite launched on Fe­bru­ary 25, 2013 is a joint Indo-French mis­sion for oceano­graphic stud­ies. GSLV Mark-III is now un­der devel­op­ment and is ex­pected to be­come op­er­a­tional in 2013, thus re­duc­ing de­pen­dence on for­eign rock­ets.

In­dia’s eco­nomic progress has ac­cel­er­ated the space pro­gramme; con­versely the satel­lites have greatly sup­ported the econ­omy due to bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tions and imag­ing.

For some years now, In­dia has been of­fer­ing space launches to other coun­tries. Re­cently In­dia be­came the first coun­try to launch 10 satel­lites from a sin­gle rocket. ISRO has now pro­posed ` 12,400 crore, 14-year pro­gramme for a manned space flight. Also a large num­ber of fu­tur­is­tic satel­lites are at dif­fer­ent stages from draw­ing board to man­u­fac­ture. The na­tion is ea­gerly look­ing for­ward to the op­er­a­tional­i­sa­tion of GPS Aided Geo Aug­mented Nav­i­ga­tion (GA­GAN) and the In­dian Re­gional Nav­i­ga­tional Satel­lite Sys­tem (IRNSS)-1.

The found­ing fa­ther of In­dia’s space pro­gramme Vikram Sarab­hai had said, “We are con­vinced that if we are to play a mean­ing­ful role na­tion­ally, and in the comity of na­tions, we must be sec­ond to none in the ap­pli­ca­tion of ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies to the real prob­lems of man and so­ci­ety.” How true he was. “The suc­cess­ful flight test of long-range Agni-V mis­sile in April 2012 has also opened a new era of op­por­tu­nity of build­ing anti-satel­lite weapons,” said Dr V.K. Saraswat, head of In­dia’s De­fence Re­search and Devel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion (DRDO).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.