Thursday, December 30, 2010

H A P P Y N E W Y E A R 2 0 1 1

We wish all of our readers and family members a very Happy New Year 2010. Let the new year 2011 brings you all health, happiness, and much prosperity.

And ye, who have met with Adversity’s blast,
And been bow’d to the earth by its fury;
To whom the Twelve Months, that have recently pass’d
Were as harsh as a prejudiced jury -
Still, fill to the Future! and join in our chime,
The regrets of remembrance to cozen,
And having obtained a New Trial of Time,
Shout in hopes of a kindlier dozen.
~Thomas Hood

Sunday, October 24, 2010

India develops Laser Guided Bomb

India has developed its first Laser Guided Bomb (LGB), a weapon that can hit a target with greater accuracy, with technological support from Instrument Research and Development Establishment (IRDE).

The LGB uses a laser designator to mark or illuminate a target. The reflected laser light from the target is then detected by the seeker which sends signals to the weapon's control surfaces to guide it towards the designated point, he said.

Bangalore-based Aeronautics Development Establishment (ADE) has developed the guidance-kit for 1000-pound LGBs and these are designed to improve the accuracy of air-to-ground bombing by IAF.

The guidance kit of LGB consists of a computer control group (CCG), guidance canards attached to the front of the warhead for providing steering commands and a wing assembly attached to the aft end to provide lift.

India had already carried out two successful flight trials of LGB for the IAF to test the effectiveness of the guidance and control systems at Chandipur integrated test range in Orissa early this year.

LGBs are manoeuvrable, free-fall weapons requiring no electronic interconnect to the aircraft and attack the target with higher accuracy and reliability.

The LGBs were first developed by USA in 1960s. Later, Russia, France and Britain also developed them.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

India to launch series of military satellites

India plans to launch a series of indigenously built military satellites with surveillance, imaging and navigation capabilities to keep a watch on its neighbourhood and help guide cruise missiles, a top defence scientist said today.

"There will be a series of (defence) satellites. I cannot give you the numbers because they are classified," V K Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, said here.

"Each year, you will find one or two satellites going up," added the Secretary, Defence R & D and Director General of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Mostly, these satellites are dedicated to different defence applications and would have payloads which are for surveillance, imaging, navigation and communication.

"You should be able to see with very high resolution and precision the movements of troops and things like that (in the neighbourhood)," Saraswat said. "You should be able to see what are the new buildings and new facilities which have come up".

India would be able to send data and commands through these satellites to cruise missiles. "So it will have tremendous applications", he said.

These defence satellites would be indigenously built and launched from home soil only given the "security sensitivity", Saraswat stressed.

"The Army, Navy and Air Force each have their own requirement and it won't be appropriate to say how many each of them would need, due to security considerations," Saraswat said.

India has taken up development and launch of these defence satellites under its space-based surveillance programme, which has a road-map for setting up satellites for all applications for the Army, Navy and Air Force, he said.

"Now, this road-map has been given to the Department of Space and it is making its own schedule for launching these satellites. We have only one Department of Space and we have huge requirements...," he said.

Saraswat said India has already launched some satellites under this programme.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Agni-II Plus getting ready

Scientists at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are working on an upgraded version of the Agni-II missile which will be more accurate and powerful than its predecessor.

The first tests for the Agni-II Plus will be carried out in two months. The new missile will be better than the Agni-II. It will perform better at various levels. The newer version will be better in terms of accuracy, strength and distance covered.

India developing highly secure operating system

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is developing a futuristic operating system to protect its sensitive data from cyber attacks, including hacking. This was announced by V.K. Saraswat.

Two software engineering centres located in Bangalore and New Delhi will be working on the operating system.

"Though it will be a real-time system, source code and architecture will be proprietary, giving us the exclusivity of owning a system unknown to foreign elements and protect our security system," Saraswat said after unveiling a training facility at the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), a defence lab in this tech hub. The new operating system will reduce the organisation's vulnerability and susceptibility to cyber attacks from internet. The first of its kind initiative will be used to secure the defence systems for computing in various research areas such as molecular computing and bio-molecular computing, used by the security formations.

50 scientists, 25 each for each of the centers pooled from various defence labs in Bangalore and New Delhi will be working on the project. The defence laboratory tied up with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chennai apart from  other universities and industries.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

ISRO successfully tests propellants system of GSLV-M III

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully tested the propellant system of the body's soon-to-be launch mega vehicle, in the Tamil Nadu's Mahendragiri district on Thursday.

In a landmark experiment, a team of eminent scientists and experts from ISRO carried out the static testing of the liquid core stage of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV-M III).

Lasting for 200 seconds, the test was deemed a 'success' by the ISRO chief K. Radhakrishnan.

Radhakrishnan said there was just one other test that was required to be undertaken before giving the green signal for the final launch of the satellite carrier into space.

"The GSLV-M III, has three propulsion elements that give power to the rocket. The first one is solid motor...solid means solid propellants used in the rocket motors. Two such rocket motors have been used. Then the second stage is the liquid stage that will be tested today, and the third stage is the cryogenic stage which we are developing," explained Radhakrishnan.

The ISRO is using indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) for the first time since the launch of the mega shuttle, GSLV-D3, in April this year.

"We are developing GSLV-M III vehicle to put heavier communications satellites, that is, satellites with mass of four tons into a geostationary transfer orbit," said Radhakrishnan.

The ISRO chief also informed that the indigenous complex cryogenic rocket technology was a remarkable scientific advancement and could revolutionize space vehicles in the future.

The GSLV-M III, which is currently under advanced stage of development, uses two solid strap-on boosters (S200), L110 liquid stage and a cryogenic upper stage C-25.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

India to Build Stealth Destroyers

The Indian Government has sanctioned $6.5bn of funding to build four stealth destroyers for the navy under Project-15B, a senior Defence Ministry official has said.

The four new 6,800t destroyers will be built at the Indian Navy’s Mumbai Mazagon Docks with greater stealth, advanced sensors and weapon packages, according to

The destroyers will be fitted with a 1,000km range nuclear-capable cruise missile and an extended-range surface-to-air missile system being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation with Israel.

Construction of the destroyers will begin only after the three stealth warships under Project 15-A are completed.

The navy currently has 140 vessels and ordered 39 additional warships and six conventional submarines worth over $10bn in July 2010.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

ISRO to achieve yet another milestone

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will achieve yet another significant milestone in its space programme when it conducts a full duration static test of Liquid Core Stage for ccccclaunch vehicle, being developed to put four tonne class satellites into orbit.

The crucial test would be conducted on September 8 at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu.

Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre Director P S Veeraraghavan told UNI that the tests would be conducted for a full duration of 200 seconds. He said, earlier 200-second test had to be aborted after 150 seconds following a minor leak in the configuration of a particular unit. The leak was identified and the problem rectified.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

BRAHMOS cruise missile test-fired from Orissa coast

India today test fired the 290-km range BRAHMOS cruise missile. This condusted at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur off Orissa coast as part of trials by the defence forces to fine-tune its capability.

India and Russia are jointly designing the BrahMos missile, which is capable of carrying conventional warheads up to 200-300 kg and has a range of 290 km, to be in line with the international regulations.

6000kmph missile to be built.

India will become the first country to have hypersonic missile with speed of over 6,000 km per hour. This will be jointly developed with Russia and the agreement for this will be signed during the visit of President Dmitry Medvedev to India. Currently the speed of the missiles is nearly half of the new missile proposed. The missiles is expected to be ready by 2015-16.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

BrahMos Engines to be produced in India

The Indian-Russian venture BrahMos Aerospace Ltd. is planning to make the engines for Brahmos missiles in India. This is told by , BrahMos Aerospace CEO Sivathanu Pillai said on Friday. The engines will be produced at the Brahmos plant in Kerala. Currently it is being manufactured in plant in Russia's Orenburg, where the requirement is expected to exceed its capabilities.

The BrahMos missile has a range of 290 km (180 miles) and can carry a conventional warhead of up to 300 kg (660 lbs). It can effectively engage ground targets from an altitude as low as 10 meters (30 feet) and has a top speed of Mach 2.8, which is about three times faster than the U.S.-made subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile.

Established in 1998, BrahMos Aerospace, a joint Indian-Russian venture, produces the BrahMos supersonic missiles. The sea- and ground-launched versions have been successfully tested and put into service with the Indian Army and Navy. The air and underwater version are planned for the tests. A lot of nations around the globe has shown interest in the missile.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Agni-V ready for test-firing

India's indegenous 5,000-km range Agni-V nuclear-capable missile is ready for test-firing. This was announced by Defence Minister AK Antony in Hyderabad after laying foundation stone for expansion of the Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited (Midhani) defence public sector company.

The missile was developed following the denial of technology to India. "The denial has only given us an opportunity to develop a 5,000-km range missile," Antony said.

He said Indian scientists working in many critical areas have proved that India can overcome sanctions and denials. "When we face denial, we should take it us a God-sent opportunity and a challenge," he told the scientists present on the occassion.

The missile is capable of hitting targets in northernmost China and is India's only inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Micro Air Vehicle to be ready in four months

The Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE)’s  first micro air vehicle (MAV) by the end of the year.

ADE, along with the National Aeronautical Laboratory, has designed and developed MAVs for counter-terrorism, urban warfare and relief and rescue operations

Micro and nano air vehicles are used to provide information in real time, while taking videos and transmitting the same back to the ground, enabling minimum reaction time. With miniaturisation being of paramount importance in developing the platform, efforts are on to design MAVs of 100 mm to 200 mm in size, and weighing less than 200 gm. The currently developed MAV weighs 300 gm.

Air-to-land BrahMos getting ready

The air-to-land version supersonic missile is almost ready, A Sivathanu Pillai, CEO and Managing Director of BrahMos Aerospace, said on Wednesday. "All the modifications have been completed. We are now in the process of readying with the missile". This air-to-land supersonic missile "very precisely" attacks the target, he added.

The hurdle is in getting the Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft, in which the missile has to be fitted, requires to be modified to take the extra load of the missile. Initially two Sukhoi-30 MKIs is planned to be modified. The modifications are expected to take two years. Since the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is "heavier" and "elaborate", the Sukhois, which could carry other weapons, needed to be modified "exclusively" for BrahMos, including in the context of pilot's console and "mission computer should take the (extra) load" and interface issues. These missiles would be inducted by the IAF after 2012 after the test flights.

The BrahMos missile is also capable of launching from underwater and it can go against ship target and land target. The underwater tests are being planned.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Times of India report - China wary of India's military might: US

The fleet-footed Dragon may be rapidly spreading its wings across the globe but remains a wee bit wary of the flat-footed Elephant next door.
The US Pentagon's latest assessment of the expanding military might of China, which has now overtaken Japan to become the world's second-largest economy, holds that Beijing is "concerned" with the "strategic ramifications of India's rising economic, political and military power". Consequently, "to improve regional deterrence", the 2.25-million strong People's Liberation Army has moved "more advanced and survivable" solid-fuelled CCS-5 nuclear-capable ballistic missiles closer to the borders with India.
Read more:

India may export BrahMos

Once the Indian defence requirements are met, India may look for exporting the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. This was told by the Defense Minister A.K. Antony said in a written response to a question in the Parliament. The agrement between India anad Russia on the Brahmos allows the foriegn sale. The two countries have signed an agreement on the missile, which has been approved by the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission for Military Technical Cooperation.

Several countries have shown an interest, he said, but no decisions have been made about who the customers would be or when the BrahMos will be available for export. The move already has the approval of the Indo-Russian Intergovernmental Commission for Military Technical Cooperation for Export.

The BrahMos missile could become one of India’s major contributions to the world arms export market between 2010-2020. The system is superior to other available platforms on three counts: The speed, touching almost 3 Mach, its modular design which allows modifications for launch from virtually any platform, and the affordable price. Now BrahMos intends to take a next higher step and would be developing hypersonic cruise missiles capable of Mach 5 to Mach 7.
While there were reports that more than 10 states have already evinced interest in purchasing this missile, further details were unavailable.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

India to launch satellite to monitor sea water levels

India will launch a satellite to monitor sea water levels in collaboration with the French space agency, Minister of State for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan said on Wednesday.
The satellite, called Saral, will carry an altimetre (ALTIKA) for studying the sea surface heights and an ARGOS payload, which is a satellite-based data collection platform.
"The project is a joint project of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the French National Space Agency (FNSA). The ALTIKA and ARGOS payloads are built and supplied by the French space agency. The satellite building and launching are the responsibilities of ISRO," Chavan told the Lok Sabha.

Monday, August 9, 2010

GAGAN - a Satellite Based Navigation System (SBNS) to be launched tomorrow

The Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Shri Praful Patel will launch the GAGAN – a Satellite Based Augmentation System Services over India and neighbouring regions. GAGAN stands for GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation. This system will provide enhanced navigation performance for critical applications like Civil Aviation, Marine Navigation, Train & Road Transport, Precision Farming, Search and Rescue (SAR) operations, Surveying and Mapping (Geodetic & Geodynamic), Mining etc.

With the service being launched, India will be the 4th Country in the World to have Satellite Based Navigation System. GAGAN will be compatible with other SBAS systems such as the Wide Area Augmentation System in the US, the European Geo-stationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) and the Multi-Functional Satellite Augmentation System in Japan.

The project is based on a signal broadcast from a geo-stationary satellite, GSAT-4. The system involves the measurement of positioning errors from GPS satellites at 18 ground stations on the subcontinent. This data is fed into a central processing centre, which generates a model of the state of the ionosphere based on these results. Corrections can then be generated for random points anywhere in the country. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

India develops futuristic anti-missile directed energy weapons

India is developing a series of directed energy weapons (DEW) to improve the anti-ballistic missile capability, local media reported on Tuesday.
A laser weapon of the DEW family are being developed, which could fire a beam with a potency of 25 kilowatt. This type of laser weapon would intercept a ballistic missile in its terminal phase within the range of seven kilometers, Indian newspaper the Indian Times quoted Anil Kumar Maini, the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO)'s Laser Science and Technology Center director, as saying.
The ballistic missile would explode as its shell temperature is heated to 200-300 degrees Celsius by the laser beam, the Director explained.
The DEW is a sophisticated weapon that could destroy a target by emitting and transferring the energy to a target in an aimed direction. Some types are in development in some countries. Among the DEW, laser weapons usually generate high-energy pulses against targets.
According to the weapon development roadmap by the Indian Ministry of Defense, the DEW would be one of the top priorities for the Indian advanced weapons development over the next fifteen years, said the report.
A gas dynamic laser-based DEW is also being developed by The Center. It could be flexibly deployed by a moving vehicle, Maini said.
In the future, the Indian laser weapons could be carried by three services' platforms, such as the Air Force's transport planes, fighters and the Navy's destroyers and submarines, according the report.
If their developments are smooth, the Indian new laser weapons test would be conducted within several years by DRDO.
On February 12, 2010, a U.S. high-powered airborne laser weapon shot down a mocked ballistic missile, and became the first successful test for a airborne DEW to destroy a ballistic missile.
India has carried out two anti-ballistic missile interception tests by launching the anti-aircraft missiles since the beginning of this year. Among them, the July's test succeeded while March's test failed due to the anti-aircraft missile's radar failing to track the mocked target.

Monday, July 26, 2010

India conducts missile interception test, direct hit at Endo Atmospheric level

India today flight tested fourth consecutive successful Interceptor Missile test against Incoming Ballistic Missile in Endo atmospheric regime at 15 Km altitude at 1005 hrs and achieved direct Hit.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) made, single stage Interceptor Missile fitted with Directional Warhead and other advanced systems has neutralized the target which was mimicking incoming enemy Ballistic Missile.

To mimic the incoming enemy’s ballistic missile trajectory, a target missile was launched from Launch Complex – III, ITR Chandipur. Interceptor Missile fitted with directional warhead was launched from Wheeler Island and destroyed Target Missile which broke into fragments and was tracked by various Radars and other sensors. All weapon system elements including Command and Control, Communication and Radars performed satisfactorily.

Present among the user representatives’ were Air Marshal PK Barbora, PVSM, VM, ADC, Vice Chief of Air Staff, IAF and Maj Gen VK Saxena, ADG, Army Air Defence, Indian Army.

India conducts missile interception test, direct hit at Endo Atmospheric level

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ISRO's great expectations

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K Radhakrishnan was upbeat when he met the media after the successful launch of PSLV-C15 and gave details of the future programmes like Chandrayaan-2 and the manned mission.

He made it clear that the manned mission involved just putting astronauts in space and not on the moon. Chandrayaan-2 was in its advanced stages of design. The idea was to make a soft landing on the moon and release a small rover for lunar exploration that can be controlled from ground. The rover prototype model has already been made and the project would be ready for launch by 2013.

For the manned mission, at least two astronauts would be sent to space. While the launch vehicle was almost ready, ISRO is working on the capsule design. A crew escape system in case of emergency is vital for a manned mission. It has now been defined.

After the capsule is ready, it would be sent unmanned to space in 2013 using PSLV to monitor it in orbit for at least seven days. If all goes well, astronauts would next be put in space using the capsule with GSLV-MK3 as the launch vehicle.

The avionics of the project is currently under development. “We have to put in place a proper environmental control life support system with thermal controls. For launching human beings and bringing them back, a high reliability vehicle is important. New facilities that we need include a new launch pad, a facility to take care of crew before they go and after they come back, a mission control centre and an astronaut training centre,” the scientists said.

The government had approved a pre-project study for Rs 95 crore in 2006. Proposals have been submitted and approval awaited.

“The existing PSLV can’t be used. It has to be modified. We have two launch pads right now but none can be used for the manned mission. A third launch pad is now being proposed for which a location has been identified. Approvals are now awaited. A second vertical assembly building programme also has to be initiated. The entire manned mission project would cost close to Rs 1,000 crore,” said Satish Dhawan Space Centre director M C Dathan.

ISRO to launch more satellites this year

After successfully placing five satellites in orbit on Monday, India's space agency ISRO said it will launch more satellites this year and efforts were on to put two Indians in space orbit.
"We will launch GSat-5, a communication satellite, using GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) rocket. The other launch will be Resourscesat-2, a remote sensing satellite, using the rocket PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle)," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K Radhakrishnan said in Sriharikota.
He was talking to reporters after five satellites, including the advanced high resolution cartography satellite Cartosat-2B, were placed in orbit following the successful launch of the PSLV rocket from the spaceport here, about 80 km north of Chennai.
He said: "The next PSLV rocket will carry multiple satellites - Resourcesat-2 and two small satellites."
According to ISRO officials, the organisation has all the sub-systems to assemble the PSLV rocket. The launch is slated before October this year.
"The work on assembling the GSLV rocket will start on Wednesday and the launch is expected to be by September-end or October first week," said PS Veeraghavan, the director at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre.
On the manned mission planned by ISRO, Radhakrishnan said the space agency has laid the road map to put two humans in orbit for seven days.
"For manned mission we have to have the orbital capsule-module to carry the humans - life support systems and escape systems for the astronauts in case of an emergency. The systems are being designed and the concept has been reviewed," said S. Ramakrishnan, the director of the ISRO's Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre.
"The first phase is to design the orbital vehicle. Once it is built the design will be evaluated by launching it in a PSLV rocket. That will give us confidence. The avionics needed for that rocket is complex and have to be developed."
"The first phase will look at the critical technologies needed for human flight and the second phase is to get the human rating for the rocket and the orbital vehicle," said Radhakrishnan.
The second phase of the human flight mission is to build a new launch pad and astronaut training centre.
"The new launch pad and accompanying facilities needed for human space flight will involve an outlay of Rs 1,000 crore," said MC Dathan, the director of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
Earlier in the day, five satellites weighing 819 kg were placed in orbit.
Over 20 minutes after the blast off, the PSLV rocket first released the Cartosat-2B followed by Alsat-2A and the three small satellites. This was the first successful launch after Radhakrishnan took over as ISRO chairman last year.
"With the launch of Cartosat-2B, ISRO will have 10 remote sensing satellites in orbit - IRS 1D, Resourcesat 1, TES, Cartosat 1, 2 and 2A, IMS 1, RISAT-2, Oceansat 1 and 2," S. Satish, the ISRO director (publications and public relations), said.
India is a world leader in the remote sensing data market and earns a sizeable amount.

India evaluating Patriot ground-based air defence system


India is evaluating the advanced Patriot ground-based air defence system for its ballistic missile shield and the US has provided "classified" material to it on the weapon unit, which was successfully used during both Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Patriot's manufacturer Raytheon said on Tuesday.

"A number of exchanges have taken place between the government of India and the US and information has been given to India at the classified level," Joseph Garret, Vice President of the company's Patriot Programmes told PTI.

Replying to questions, he said tests of the Patriot system, which has been procured by 12 countries, by India's Defence Research and Development Organisation and other agencies had been "highly successful".

On India developing its own missile defence shield, Garret said, "Patriot system gives a major boost to any country's defence capability. India may be developing its own system, but Patriot is a combat-proven weapon system."

Fresh trial of ballistic missile likely next week

Balasore, July 20: Preparations have begun as India plans to conduct a fresh trial of its tactical ballistic missile to build a credible defence shield for intercepting and destroying incoming missiles, informed sources.

The Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile test is likely to be conducted early next week, sources added.

The trial may be conducted on July 26 or 27.

The test involving coordinated flight of missiles hostile missile and the interceptor missile would involve both the ranges of Interim Test Range Dhamra as well as Chandipur.

During the trial, the interceptor missile would shoot down an incoming `enemy missile' as part of its efforts to build a credible ballistic missile defence shield.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has built both the missiles, according to sources.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

India's Akash missile ready for production, induction

After several years of delay, India's indigenously developed Akash surface-to-air missile is now ready for production and induction in the armed forced.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which has received orders worth Rs 27,000 crore from both the Indian Army and Indian Air Force for the weapon system, is all set to start the production process along with its industry partners.

“The weapon system for the Akash missile is now ready for production and induction.

“This is a major milestone for DRDO and its industry partners. It is also an essential step towards indigenously developing more complex air defence weapons for the future,” a DRDO official was quoted as saying by Financial Express.

The Indian Army had recently placed an order for 12 batteries of the medium range Akash missiles. Earlier this year, the IAF had ordered six Akash missile squadrons in addition to two squadrons already procured by it. Each squadron comprises 125 Akash missiles.

The medium range anti-aircraft missile Akash was developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) of India. The missile was intended to replace the Russian-made SAM-6 Kvadrat missiles.

The Akash surface-to-air missile. A DRDO photo

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Manned flight, next on ISRO's list

An unmanned test crew module will be put into orbit by ISRO in 2013 as a prelude to the country’s maiden manned mission to send two Indians into space. ISRO also said on Monday that a third launch pad, at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore, is proposed to be built at Sriharikota, where the rocket that will take the Indian astronauts into space, will be assembled and blasted off. ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan said the space agency plans to launch the first test unmanned mission with an unmanned capsule on PSLV, which will be put into orbit and recovered soon after the mission.

Talking to reporters here after the successful launch of remote sensing satellite Cartosat-2B and four other satellites by the PSLV rocket, he said that in the next three months ISRO will launch GSLV-F06, which will carry a communication satellite, and PSLV-C16 with a remote sensing satellite on board.

ISRO has prepared a road map with an initial plan to put two humans in orbit around earth, keep them there for seven days and bring them back safely, Mr Radhakrishnan said.

Mr Radhakrishnan said all new elements for the unmanned launch have been designed. “We have gone to system concept reviews. The first level of definitions and specifications have been drawn up,” he said. “We need to have the orbital vehicle, namely the capsule and its design and then develop the environmental control and life support system, which will be followed by crew escape system that will be very vital in case of mission abort,” he said. These modules will be evaluated by launch of PSLV unmanned mission, he said, adding it would give them confidence, help evaluate the total system for its survival in the space environment on how the entire system behaves. To a question on whether ISRO had set a timeframe for the manned mission, he said, “I don’t want to commit the date unless we start the programme”.

Mr Radhakrishnan said scientists will work on the crew model, which will have an environmental control life support system. “We are also working out a very high reliability vehicle, capable of putting crew module with adequate number of persons,” he said.

Mr Dattan, director of SDSC said a proposal has been given to the government for approval to set up a third launch pad at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore. “Preliminary design of the third launch pad is now going on with various experts. Location of the launch pad has also been finalised taking into account the safety measures,” he said. “

Once approval is obtained, the third launch pad and other infrastructure activities for the manned moon mission will come up,” he added.

“We also propose to set up one more vertical assembly building, similar to what we have now. This will be capable of assembling the existing and forthcoming advance vehicles,” he said.

Mr Dattan said the programme has already been initiated and will start once government accords approval.

Monday, July 12, 2010

PSLV launch successful, 5 satellites placed in orbit

In a textbook launch, India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) on Monday successfully placed into orbit, the remote sensing satellite Cartosat-2B and four other satellites, after a perfect lift off from the space-port in Sriharikota.

At the end of an over 51-hour countdown, the 44.4 metre-tall four-stage PSLV-C-15, costing Rs 260 crore, blasted off from a launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre with ignition of the core first stage and placed the satellites in orbit one after the other.

Visibly relieved scientists, headed by ISRO chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan, cheered as ISRO's workhorse PSLV soared into clear skies at 9.22am from the spaceport in the East Coast in Andhra Pradesh, about 100 km north of Chennai.

The PSLV launch assumes significance as it comes about three months after ISRO suffered a major setback on April 15 when the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D3), which was launched using an Indian-designed and built cryogenic engine for the first time, failed and fell into the Bay of Bengal.

Cartosat-2B is an advanced remote sensing satellite built by ISRO. This is the latest in the Indian remote sensing satellite series and the 17th in this series.

Cartosat-2B is mainly intended to augment remote sensing data services to the users of multiple spot scene imagery with 0.8 metre spatial resolution and 9.6 km swath in the panchromatic. Cartosat-2 and 2A, two Indian remote sensing satellites in orbit, are currently providing such services.

A set of four satellites including Studsat built by students of seven engineering colleges in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Alsat from Algeria, two nano satellites from Canada and Switzerland, and a pico (very small) satellite called Oceansat 2 accompanied Cartosat 2 on its trip to orbit.

Planning Commission Vice-Chairman Montek Singh Ahuluwalia, and former ISRO chief Dr K Kasturirangan witnessed the launch.

"It has been a wonderful experience. The ISRO has made the country proud," Ahluwalia said, congratulating the scientists after the perfect take off.

The Cartosat-2B carries a panchromatic camera similar to that of its predecessors - Cartosat-2 and 2A and was capable of imaging a swath (geographical strip of land) of 9.6 km with a resolution of 0.8 metre.

The multiple spot scene imagery sent by Cartosat-2B camera would also be useful for village/cadastral level resource assessment and mapping, detailed urban and infrastructure planning and development, transportation system planning, preparation of large-scale cartographic maps, preparation of micro watershed development plans and monitoring of development works of village.

Alsat from Algeria, weighing 116 kg, is also a remote sensing satellite. The two nano satellites, NLS 6.1 and NLS 6.2, weigh six kg and one kg each. Studsat weighs less than one kg.

Besides launching 17 Indian satellites, PSLV has also launched 22 foreign satellites during 1994-2009 into polar sun synchronous, geosynchronous transfer, highly elliptical and low earth orbits and has repeatedly proved its reliability and versatility.

One important modification compared to the previous flights of PSLV is the use of dual launch adopter to carry two large satellites, ISRO sources said. Soon after injection into the orbit and separation from the PSLV C-15 fourth stage, the two solar panels of Cartosat 2B will be automatically deployed, they said.

Attributing the success of PSLV C-15 to the entire team behind the mission, ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan said, "We had an excellent flight. It injected precisely the five satellites. The entire ISRO team is behind the success".

In an apparent reference to the failure of GSLV D3 cryogenic stage, the space agency's first mission after he took over as its chief, he said his team of scientists were inspired to work "especially after the last few weeks after a serious problem that we faced." "And I also want to say we have understood the problem with regard to the indigenous cryogenic engine and stage. We will confirm it in a few weeks with a few tests and then we will come back", he said.

ISRO outlines plans to send Indians into space

An unmanned crew module will be put in orbit around the earth by a modified Polar Satellite Launch (PSLV) in 2013 as a forerunner to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) sending two Indians into space, S. Ramakrishnan, Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, ISRO, said here on Monday.

India has plans to send two Indians into space in a low-earth orbit and they will stay in space for about a week before returning to the earth. A third launch pad, at a cost of Rs.1,000 crore, will be built at Sriharikota, where the rocket that will take the Indian astronauts into space will be assembled and launched.

Mr. Ramakrishnan told a press conference here, after the successful PSLV-C15 flight, that the module in which the Indian astronauts would go into space had already been designed. The life-support systems, the thermal-proofing on board the module and the crew escape system in case of an emergency had already been defined. “We are also planning a launch pad abort for the crew in case of an accident,” Mr. Ramakrishnan said.

ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan explained that the ISRO needed a highly reliable vehicle to take humans into space. Such rockets were called human-rated vehicles. Certain crucial facilities such as a new launch pad for sending human beings into space had to be built at the spaceport in Sriharikota. Facilities to handle the astronauts when they returned to the earth also needed to be built here. In the first phase of India’s Human Spaceflight Programme, these critical technologies including the re-entry technology would be developed. In the second phase, a human rated vehicle would be developed. In the third phase, astronauts would be trained to go into space. Normally, it took three years to train an astronaut, Dr. Radhakrishnan said.

Narayanamoorthy N., Chief Executive, Human Spaceflight Programme, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, said the most important technology to be developed was the crew escape system. In the programme’s first phase, the module that would take the crew into space and a PSLV with a modified first stage would be built. An unmanned module, it would be identical to the final module. A host of technologies including life-support systems aboard the module and avionics would be developed in India with the help of research laboratories and industries, Mr. Narayanamoorthy said.

The location for the third launch pad site had been decided upon, said M.C. Dathan, Director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. It would boast of a vehicle assembly building where not only the ISRO’s current but future vehicles would be stacked up.

R.R. Navalgund, Director, Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad, said Cartosat-2B, launched on Monday from Sriharikota, could be used in a variety of ways, depending on the imagination of the user. The images taken by its panchromatic camera could be used for planning roads in villages, building harbours, preparing accurate maps, keeping a watch on encroachments, and for various infrastructural activities, said Dr. Navalgund.

(Cartosat-2B’s images will have a resolution of 0.8 metres. In other words, the satellite from a height of 637 km, can take pictures of objects on the earth, which are three-feet long. The images can be used for estimating the acreage and the yield of crops; for finding out various types of forests and how thick the vegetation is; for laying ring roads and digging new canals; keeping a watch on mangroves and coral formations, and estimating the amount of water available in reservoirs and big lakes).

Mr. P.S. Veeraraghavan, Director, VSSC, said a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV - F06) will lift off from Sriharikota by the end of September or the first week of October this year. The stacking of its stages would begin in the second launch pad from July 14 (Wednesday).

A PSLV-C16 rocket would put in orbit Resourcesat-2 by the middle of October. It would also put in orbit two other satellites. The stacking of the PSLV-C16’s four stages would begin in August at Sriharikota.

Friday, July 9, 2010

ISRO launches RH rocket with student’s payload

ISRO has successfully launched the RH 200 rocket, which had a part of its payload developed by students from Vellore Institute of Technology University (VITU) in Tamil Nadu.

The RH 200 rocket, a technology demonstrator flight, was launched on July 7 from Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) attached to Vikram Sarabhaio Space Centre, a VSSC release said today.

The payload developed by the VITU students was part of ISRO's initiative of encouraging varsity students as partners in payload development.

The students' payload comprised tri-axial accelerometers, power switching module and safe arm relay unit matching the requirements of RH 200 rocket, the release said.

The tri-axial accelerometer can monitor accelerations in all three directions. The power-switching module is for the power control of the payload.

The faculty and students of VITU had taken keen interest during the development and test activities of these payloads at various work centres, it added.

The students of the Indian Institute of Space Technology (IIST) were also progressing well in their attempt to make the first indigenous "students' rocket" with support of the experts from VSSC.

In its endeavour to handhold the student community, ISRO has included a picosatellite designed by undergraduate students across India, in its forthcoming PSLV-C15 mission.

The decision was taken with the aim to provide hands-on experience in frontier areas of space technology such as design, fabrication and realisation of a space mission at a reduced cost.

After the successful flight of the Advanced Technology Vehicle ATV D01, this was a major step to demonstrate the performance of super capacitors in flight pyro systems activation. The flight successfully tested the super capacitor developed by VSSC.

So far TERLS has recorded 2291 flights of sounding rockets and this is the 395th flight of RH 200 rocket.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Astra test-fired for second consecutive day

India on Wednesday test-fired Astra, the indigenously developed beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile at Chandipur near here, hours after carrying out the first night trial of the weapon.

The sophisticated missile was fired from a launcher at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) complex, about 15 km from here, at 2.07 pm, defence sources said.

The second consecutive trial comes after the missile was test-fired for the first time for night trial in inclement weather conditions on Tuesday night. The data generated were being thoroughly examined by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists, the sources said.

The single stage, solid-fuelled Astra is more advanced in its category than the contemporary BVR missiles and is capable of engaging and destroying highly manoeuvrable supersonic aerial targets, DRDO scientists said.

The 3.8-metre-long missile, which has a diameter of 178 mm, can carry a warhead containing explosives weighing 15 kg and can be fitted to any fighter aircraft.

It is intended for eventual integration with the IAFs Sukhoi-30 MKI, MiG-29, Mirage-2000, Jaguar and the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, the sources said.

Describing Astra as a futuristic missile, the scientists said the weapon could intercept targets at supersonic speed (mach 1.2 to 1.4).

Before being made fully operational, the complex missile system will undergo some more trials, though tests of its navigation, control, air frame, propulsion and other sub-systems have been validated, the sources said.

Though the exact range of Wednesday’s trial was not disclosed, DRDO scientists are working to ensure Astra performs effectively at different altitudes — one cruising at an altitude of 15 km with 90 to 110 km range, another at an altitude up to 30,000 ft, having a range of 44 km and the third at sea level with a range of 25 km, the sources said.

The trials of Astra, conducted on January 11 this year from the same base, were successful.

Monday, July 5, 2010

PSLV-C15 rescheduled for July 12:ISRO

The launch of ISRO`s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C15) fixed for July12th, 2010. A marginal drop in the pressure in second stage of the vehicle was noticed during the mandatory checks carried out on the PSLV-C15 vehicle. This is the new date for the launch of PSLV-C15 mission which has been decided after preliminary results of the analysis obtained.

PSLV-C15 is planned to launch India`s Cartosat-2B, an Algerian satellite ALSAT-2A, two nano satellites NLS 6.1 and NLS 6.2 from University of Toronto, Canada and STUDSAT, a satellite built by students from academic institutions in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Cartosat-2B is declared to be launched on the date July 12 from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh

India all set to roll out indigenous naval LCA

India is all set to roll out its indigenous naval Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) facility in Bangalore on Tuesday, which will be witnessed by Defence Minister A K Antony.
"The first indigenous naval Light Combat Aircraft – the LCA (Navy) NP1 - is scheduled to roll out from HAL Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) hangar on July 6," a Defence Minister official said here on Monday.

An important milestone for the naval programme of Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the aircraft would be brought out of the hanger where it was assembled part-by-part during the roll-out.

Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma will be the chief guest at the event. The aircraft is being readied for induction into the Navy and for deployment on board the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC), currently under construction at the Cochin Shipyard, by 2015.

Following the roll-out, the Naval LCA, with state-of-the-art technologies and punch, will be ready for the phase of systems integration tests leading to ground runs, taxi trials and flight trials.

Once the ground based tests are completed , the 'NP1' is expected to fly by the end of this year and the NP2 is likely to fly by the end of 2011.

The government had sanctioned the LCA (Navy) programme in 2003 and the first stage of development included design and fabrication of a trainer and a fighter - NP1 and NP2 respectively - along with a Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) at Goa naval air base, which has already come up.

The SBTF is being used to simulate carrier take off and arrested landing and as a training facility for future pilots of the naval LCA.

It is also being used for training on the newly acquired MiG-29K fighter jets, bought from Russia to be operated on the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, which is under a repair and refit programme in a Russian shipyard. The LCA (Navy) NP1 would be flying with the GE-F-404-IN20 engine and is designed for Ski-jump Take Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) operations.

The only carrier-borne aircraft in the light category in the world, Naval LCA will be operating with a wide variety of operational weapons and equipment like the Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile, anti-ship missiles, conventional bombs, air defence guns, counter-counter measures and drop tanks.

The ADA is responsible for design, development, ground test and flight test of both the Naval and Air Force versions of the LCA. HAL is the principal partner of ADA in this task.

The Indian Navy, the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA), all have played an important supporting role in the development of the Naval LCA right from its inception, the officials said.

Astra missile likely to be test fired

Astra, the Beyond-Visual-Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM), is likely to flight tested from the Integrated Test Range (ITR).

While two days are slated July 6 and July 7, sources said most likely the flight testing of the missile would be carried on July 7 (Wednesday) and a team from production unit has reportedly reached this place.

On the last occasion on January 11 this year two trials of the missile were conducted successfully.

The sophisticated missile is envisaged to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft at supersonic speeds in the head-on mode at a range of 80 km and in tail-chase mode at 20 km.

The missile is intended for the Indian Air Force's Sukhoi Su-30MKI, Mirage 2000H, Mirage 2000, MiG-29, MiG-21 Bison and Tejas combat jets, as also the Indian Navy's Sea Harrier jump jets.

Astra, which uses solid propellant, can carry a conventional warhead of 15 kg.

It is the smallest of the missiles developed by the DRDO in terms of size and weight.

It is 3.8-metre long and has a diameter of 178 mm with an overall launch weight of 160 kg.

The missile could be launched from different altitudes - it can cover 110 km when launched from an altitude of 15 km, 44 km when fired from an altitude of eight km and 21 km when the altitude is sea-level .

Besides, plans were afoot to test-fire its indigenously designed and developed Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile from the ITR in the last week of this month when India eyes to develop a full fledged multi-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system, and accordingly preparations for the trial were underway.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

DRDO develops UAV 'Netra' to aid in anti-terrorist operations

India's defence research agency DRDO has developed an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) specifically for anti-terrorist and counter insurgency operations, which will be inducted into the armed forces by the year-end.
The 1.5 kg UAV, called 'Netra', is a collaborative development project between ideaForge, a company formed by a group of Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, alumni and one of Defence Research and Development Organisation's Pune-based labs, Research and Development Establishment (Engineers) (R&DE) Pune.
DRDO scientist Dr Alok Mukherjee, who demonstrated the UAV, here yesterday said Netra would be ready for induction into the services within the next six months after it is subjected to some more trial tests.
"The UAV is capable of operating in all the conflict theatres, including urban quarters, in a situation similar to that of the 26/11 terror attacks.", he told reporters here yesterday.
Mukerjee said the estimated cost of Netra is Rs 20 lakhs, but the price could vary if additional components like thermal camera are added as per the requirements of the security agencies concerned and their use.
IdeaForge, vice-president (Marketing and Operations Unmanned Systems) Amardeep Singh said the UAV has been designed to carry out surveillance in an area of 1.5 KM Line of Sight (LOS) and has an endurance capacity of 30 minutes of battery charge.
Apart from that, Netra is equipped with a resolution CCD camera with a pan/tilt and zoom to facilitate wider surveillance. It can also be fitted with thermal cameras to carry out night operations.
Singh said the operational altitude of the UAV is 200 meters maximum, having a vertical take-off and landing capacity (VTOL) and is equipped with a wireless transmitter. In addition to that, the in-built fail-safe features allows Netra to return to base on loss of communication or low battery.
Asked if the UAV could function in all-weather condition, Singh said the machine cannot be operated in rainy conditions but research is being carried out to make Netra function even during monsoon.

Friday, July 2, 2010

DRDO working on more advanced version of Arjun MBT: Saraswat

After receiving orders for 124 more Arjun main battle tanks, the DRDO has decided to supply an advanced version of the weapon system to meet the requirements of the Army.

"We will have the modifications (on Arjuns) that the Army is looking for," Defence Research and Development Organisation chief V K Saraswat said here on Thursday.
He was asked if the DRDO had any plans of delivering a more advanced version of Arjun to the Army as part of the next order. The DRDO chief was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function to mark the golden jubilee of the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS).

Saraswat said that the DRDO had already started working on the mark II version of the tank, which will incorporate a number of modifications that have been sought by the Army.

"We have to make certain modifications in the tank, which we call the Arjun mark II version. Development process on mark II is already in progress and our scientists and the Army are working together," Saraswat said.

The DRDO chief said the decision by the Army to place orders for 124 more Arjuns will ensure that the assembly line of the tanks is "engaged".

Army has till date placed orders for 248 Arjun tanks of which 124 have already been delivered to it. The orders for additional 124 tanks was placed after the comparative trials in March and April this year.

The comparative trials between the Arjun and the Russian T-90 were carried out to decided the future of the tank in the Army, during which the indigenous tanks reportedly performed satisfactorily.

The DRDO wants the Army to place orders for at least 500 Arjuns to recover its investments before staring work on the futuristic main battle tank for the service.
Commenting on the role of INMAS during the recent Mayapuri radiation leak case here, Saraswat said, "INMAS also has the expertise of detecting nuclear radiation and we provided the fastest response to the casualties there. We were able to send our teams within four hours and we also found out the level of radiation."

India to test missile defence shield once again in August

It's a no-brainer that with two long, unresolved borders with nuclear-armed China and Pakistan, India needs to develop an effective missile defence shield as soon as possible. The good news is that India is planning another test of its fledgling ballistic missile defence (BMD) system next month.
BMD systems, however, are incredibly complex. They have to detect, classify, track and then hit a fast-incoming hostile missile with interceptors or anti-missile missiles with virtual pinpoint accuracy, all within a matter of minutes. No one, after all, wants nukes to leak through the so-called shield. And if there are multiple enemy missiles, it becomes all the more formidable.
Even the BMD systems of US, Russia and Israel are yet to be proven in actual conflict. The US, of course, has spent billions of dollars on its missile defence systems like Patriot Advanced Capability-3, Aegis BMD-3 and THAAD (terminal high-altitude area defence) system, the last of which was tested as recently as Tuesday.
But DRDO remains upbeat about its seemingly unrealistic claim that Phase-I of its two-tier BMD system, designed to track and destroy hostile missiles both inside (endo) and outside (exo) the earth's atmosphere, will be "ready for deployment'' as early as 2012.
Phase-I is designed to intercept enemy missiles with a 2,000-km range, while Phase-II is meant to tackle 5,000-km range missiles, as reported by TOI earlier. While Phase-I interceptors fly at 4.5 Mach high-supersonic speeds, Phase-II ones will have hypersonic speeds of 6-7 Mach.
"The next test is going to be conducted in August during which we will try to intercept a missile at an altitude of 15-20 km,'' DRDO chief V K Saraswat told reporters here on Thursday.
This will be the fifth test of the Phase-I BMD system. The first three tests, in November 2006, December 2007 and March 2009, when the enemy missiles were `killed' at altitudes of 48-km, 15-km and 80-km respectively, were successful. But the fourth, on March 15 this year, had flopped.
"The anti-missile system is a two-tiered one, where you first launch the target (enemy) missile and then you launch the hit missile. Since the target was not launched as planned (on March 15), the anti-missile system did not trigger,'' explained Saraswat.
This may well be true but DRDO has a long way to go before it can boast of successfully deploying an effective missile shield, with overlapping networks of advanced early-warning and tracking radars, fail-safe command and control posts, and robust land and sea-based interceptor missile batteries.
DRDO is yet to test Phase-I in an integrated mode, with both the two-stage exo and single-stage endo interceptors together, to first engage outside the atmosphere and then intercept the `leakers' inside to ensure the required near 100% kill probability.
Capable of handling multiple targets, the BMD system will have to be repeatedly tested for a variety of flight envelopes before it go in for production and subsequent deployment.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

GSLV relaunch with indigenous cryogenic engine in one year: ISRO

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to relaunch the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) with a home-grown cryogenic engine in a year's time after the failure in April this year.
"We have come across a few scenarios after detailed analysis of the failure. Now the immediate task is to test it on the ground and we look forward to relaunch it next year," ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan told reporters on the sidelines of the 117 birth anniversary celebrations of Professor PC Mahalanobis at the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata.
The five earlier versions of the GSLV had Russia- supplied cryogenic engines. India's cryogenic upper stage (CUS) engine was meant to replace the Russian engines.
The GSLV D-3, the satellite launch vehicle showcasing the country's indigenous cryogenic technology, trailed off its designated course and went out of control shortly after the lift-off on April 15.
The rocket, along with its two payloads -- satellites GSAT-4 and GAGAN -- crashed into the Bay of Bengal minutes after blastoff.
The failed mission caused loss of the GSLV-D3 rocket costing about Rs 180 crore and the satellites valued at Rs 150 crore.
The launch was the key to India's space programme as it would have made it the sixth nation to successfully deploy cryogenic technology, joining US, Russia, Japan, China and France.

After two setbacks, Isro set to launch five satellites on 12 July

After two setbacks this year, India’s space agency is set to launch five satellites on 12 July, including one that can shoot pictures of small objects on land and compress the time needed for building high-resolution maps by half.

Isro had deferred the launch of its workhorse polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) scheduled in May after it found leaks in the rocket’s second stage. The leaks were detected when pressurized nitrogen was pumped in the rocket as part of tests on the launch pad.

The same rocket will be fired now, following repairs and further tests, said an Isro official from Sriharikota. He did not want to be named.

“Even if the leak is minor, it takes many days to rectify and certify it fit,” said U.R. Rao, a former chairman of Isro. “In space, you don’t take risks.”

The rocket will also launch Alsat-2A, a remote sensing satellite from Algeria and India’s first African customer, two nano satellites from the University of Toronto, and Studsat, a small satellite built by engineering students in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Isro’s commercial arm, Antrix Corp. Ltd, has already signed a second satellite launch from Algeria for next year.

So far, PSLV has launched 39 satellites, nearly half of them from India, in 16 missions.

Isro expects Cartosat-2B to join two other satellites that are already in orbit—the Cartosat-2 and 2A—and return more high-resolution images to earth and provide complete coverage of the subcontinent, said S. Satish, director, Isro.

Cartosat-2B has a high resolution of 0.8 metre, allowing it to photograph objects the size of a typical bicycle.

Typically, satellites that can snap high resolution images can cover a small width or swath of 10km. To cover a larger area, a satellite would have to come back to a specific spot repeatedly, which would take a long time as it would have to complete one orbit of the earth to do this. A constellation of three satellites, on the other hand, can cover the entire country.

“It is like a camera; you want sharp images you need to be closer. You can go farther to cover a larger area, but you won’t get minute details,” said Rao.

As for the GSLV, Satish said a panel that’s studying what led to its crash is set to announce its report next week.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

India hopes to launch 'Chandrayaan-2' by 2013

The chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) K Radhakrishnan has said India is preparing to launch its second moon mission 'Chandrayaan-2' by 2013.
"The Chandrayaan-2 we are planning to have in the year 2013 and by that time we should have our GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) flying with the Indigenous Cryogenic Engine Stage that's the target with which we are working," Radhakrishnan told reporters in Kolkata.
Radhakrishnan said some snags have been identified in flight-testing of the Indigenous Cryogenic Engine, which is being analysed.
He said this would be sorted out in about a year.
"A flight testing of the Indigenous Cryogenic Engine Stage, in April, and as you know we had some snags there. We went through a very detailed analysis as to what happens and why it happens and we have come to a couple of scenarios in which such a snag would have occurred and our immediate task is to confirm that through testing on the ground and then prepare for the next flight testing. This should happen in year from now," he added.
The Chandrayaan-2 is the second unmanned lunar exploration mission that ISRO is pursuing.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

‘Tarkash’ Launched on 23 Jun 10

The second of the three follow on Talwar class stealth frigates being built by Yantar Shipyard, Kaliningrad, Russia was ceremoniously launched on 23 Jun 10 by Mrs Ramma Dewan, wife of Vice Admiral D K Dewan, the Vice Chief of Naval Staff. The launching ceremony was attended by Governer of Kaliningrad Region, The Commander-in-Chief of Baltic Fleet of Russian Federation and other senior dignitaries from the Russian side in addition to Senior Indian Navy officers posted in Russia.
The frigate, christened ‘Tarkash’ during the ceremony, belongs to the elite Talwar Class of ships, three of which namely Talwar, Trishul and Tabar are already in service with the Indian Navy. The first follow on ship, christened ‘Teg’ was launched on 27 Nov 09. These frigates have been constructed to suit Indian Navy’s specific requirements and are highly potent platforms. Their mission in Navy spans the entire spectrum of Naval warfare, viz Air, Surface and Sub-surface. The ships are capable of operating in Blue waters, and are at the forefront of the Indian Navy task forces.
The features of the follow-on ships have been upgraded to a higher level of sophistication with the experience gained by the Navy in operation of the first three ships. ‘Tarkash’, which means ‘Quiver’, will also carry supersonic Brahmos missile system with vertical launch capability, which is an Indo-Russian joint venture. True to its name, Tarkash carries cutting edge weaponry which includes advanced Surface to Air missiles, 100 mm Caliber Guns (artillery), Close Range Guns, Torpedos, Rocket Launchers and associated Fire Control Systems. The ship will also carry one Russian built Anti-Submarine Warfare helicopter Ka-31.
The ship is powered by four powerful Gas Turbines giving it a top speed of 30 knots. The vessel is fitted with state-of-the-art Navigation, Communication and Electronic Warfare Equipment. It is also equipped with highly advanced Radar and Sonar systems for early detection and warning. ‘Tarkash’ is scheduled to join the Indian Navy in the second half of 2011, post commissioning in Russia.

ISRO plans to launch satellite to study greenhouse gases

With growing importance being placed on climate change and mitigation strategies, India's space agency ISRO is in the process of launching a satellite to study greenhouse gases,
"In the next 2-3 years, ISRO will carry out the first of the launches which will be dedicated to (studying) greenhouses gases like carbondioxide, carbon monoxide, nitric oxide and things of that kind," Planning Commission Member and former chief of ISRO, Dr K Kasturirangan told reporters here today.
The satellite was in design stages and the Ministry of Environment and Forests, which will play a substantial role in the funding of this project, has asked ISRO if the measurements relating to the gases could be made globally.
"The US and Japan have already put such satellites and the idea is to see if India can look at the greenhouse gases using satellite sensors," Kasturirangan said.

ISRO may launch nano satellite in September

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is likely to launch in September a nano satellite being built by students of SRM University in Chennai, a senior official said on Saturday.
"The satellite is being built by the students. It has to be tested before it can be included as a payload. Perhaps in September, the satellite may be launched," V S Hegde, Scientific Secretary ISRO said.
The space agency is also planning soon to launch Cartosat, a cartography satellite, he told reporters on the sidelines of Indian Youth Science Congress, which was held at SRM University campus.
On the failure of ISRO's GSLV that flew with indigenously developed cryogenic engine in April this year, Hegde said "The failure analysis committee is looking into the causes. The committee is expected to submit its report soon".

Friday, June 25, 2010

LCA's Naval version prepares to roll out

India's first indigenous Naval Light Combat Aircraft, the LCA (Navy) NP1 is scheduled to roll out from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) design hangar on July 6.

The Defence Ministry has said that the aircraft will be an important milestone for the prestigious Naval Program of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Bangalore.

The Chief of The Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma would be the Chief Guest at the function.

'Roll-Out' is a significant milestone when the aircraft is brought out of the build hangar, where the aircraft is actually assembled part by part, ready for the phase of systems integration tests leading to Ground runs, taxi trials and flight.

Once the ground based tests are completed, the NP1 is expected to fly by the end of this year and the NP2 is likely to fly by the end of 2011.

The aircraft, with state of the art technologies and punch, is designed to operate from the future Indigenous aircraft carriers the Navy plans to acquire.

The LCA (Navy) program was sanctioned by the Government in 2003.

The first stage of development includes design and fabrication of one Trainer and one Fighter, NP1 and NP2 respectively, along with a Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) at Goa.

The SBTF will be used to simulate carrier take off and arrested landing.

The NP1 would be flying with the GE-F-404-IN20 engine and is designed for ski jump take off and arrested landing.

The only carrier borne aircraft in the light category in the world, it will be operating with a wide variety of operational weapons and equipment like the Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile, Anti-ship Missiles, Conventional bombs, Air Defence guns, CCM's and drop tanks.

The Indian Navy, the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA), in the development of its aircraft, have played an important role right from its inception supporting the program.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Nag hits a moving target in 3.2 seconds

Anti-tank missile Nag on Sunday was successfully test-fired from the Army's Field Firing Range at Shamirpet, near here. This time it hit a moving object. Last Sunday (June 6), it destroyed a stationary target and proved its capability of destroying a target at a close range of 500 metres in three seconds.

This Sunday, Nag smashed the moving target in 3.2 seconds after its launch at 10.30 a.m., a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) official told TheHindu. The test-firing was conducted by missile scientists from the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) after the Army requested for a close range launch on a moving target. The missile punched a hole as it pierced through the target, which was specially developed by Hyderabad-based Delta Technologies in collaboration with DRDL.

Director of Research Centre Imarat (RCI), S.K. Ray, RCI Associate Director S.K. Chaudhuri, Director of Missile Systems Quality Assurance Agency Commodore S. Patel and other DRDO officials were present.

With the land version of the missile already proving a maximum range of four km in the user trials held in the last two years in Rajasthan, the official said Nag had a higher lock-on before launch range compared to contemporary third generation anti-tank missiles. As the missile is expected to be cleared for induction by the Army after the final validation trials next month, the pre-production process was on at Bharat Dynamics Limited here.

Equipped with an active Imaging Infra-red seeker to make it highly accurate, the missile has top-attack capability to defeat the armour of modern-day tanks. The missile carries a highly potent HEAT (high explosive anti-tank) warhead and could be launched during both day and night.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Supersonic fighter is on its way

India’s fighter strength has been declining in the recent years, as the MiG-21s that comprises the bulk of its fleet are lost in crashes, or retired due to age and wear. While the buzz might be around the multi-billion dollar medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal for the purchase of 126 fighter planes for which American, Russian, French, Swedish and European fighter makers are hot in the race, but that still leaves replacement of the MiG-21 fleet.

In such a scenario, the news that Tejas, India’s second indigenous jet fighter design, after the HF-24 Marut of the 1950s, successfully undertook its maiden test flight this month, has brought cheers to the country’s defence establishment. With this successful flight, the indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) programme is close to the initial operations clearance, which is expected to be completed by December this year, according to Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO). The remaining effort will mostly revolve around flight testing and demonstration of sensors and weapon performance. In a nutshell: After long delays, Tejas is scheduled for induction into Indian Air Force (IAF) service in December, 2010.

Tejas is being built by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Navy. The LCA was designed by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in Bangalore. The IAF has a requirement of 140 single-seat fighters and 20 two-seat LCA trainers for squadron service in the next 10 years. It has ordered 20 LCAs, which are scheduled to be delivered by 2013. Development is underway for the naval version of the LCA, which can be operated from an aircraft carrier. Two naval prototypes will be manufactured and flown to obtain clearance for deck operations.

Tracing its history, the LCA project was sanctioned in 1982 with a budget of Rs 560 crore to develop a F-16 class fighter aircraft to replace MiG-21 fighters in the IAF. Analysts inform that close to Rs 6,000 crore has been spent in the country’s efforts to upgrade its national defence capabilities through home-made production of fighter planes.

Tejas is claimed to be the world’s smallest, light weight, multi-role combat aircraft designed to meet the requirements of Indian Air Force as its frontline multi-mission single-seat tactical aircraft to replace the MiG-21 series of aircraft. The

Tejas design has been configured to match the demands of modern combat scenario such as speed, acceleration, maneuverability and agility. The LCA integrates modern design concepts like static instability, digital fly-by-wire flight control system, integrated avionics, glass cockpit, primary composite structure, multi-mode radar, microprocessor based utility and brake management systems.

Senior scientists from Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) and Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) have been involved in the development and flight test planning of the newly integrated flight control software which was used by the test aircraft.

According to PS Subramanyam, programme director, ADA, the Tejas team is now heading to central India to carry out hot weather trials.

Designed as a single-engine tactical fighter, Tejas has a compound delta-wing platform to achieve weight reductions. The wing design, combined with a blended-wing body, delivers high performance. The design allows the aircraft to be integrated with guided air-to-surface and anti-ship weapons for multi-role and multi-mission capabilities. The fuselage is a thin walled and integrally stiffened structure, designed to sustain internal pressure without stiffener debonding. It features complex shapes and contours using integral structures in large scale.

The glass cockpit is equipped with a head-up display (HUD) and two multifunction displays (MFDs) that provide the required information to the pilot.

The HUD displays critical information required in close combat situations. The modern avionics systems and an effective pilot-vehicle interface are installed in the cockpit. The hands on throttle and stick (HOTAS) concept ensures the availability of all flight controls during adverse conditions.

Among others, Tejas features an integrated digital avionics suite, configured around the MIL-STD-1553B bus system. The 32-bit mission computer (MC) can perform mission-oriented computations, flight management, reconfiguration/redundancy management and in-flight system self tests.

On the weapons side, Tejas is claimed to be a precision weapon launch platform with seven hardpoints to carry a range of air-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, unguided rockets and conventional/retarded bombs. The air-to-air missiles include Astra BVRAAM, Vympel R-77 and R-73. The air-to-surface missiles are Kh-59ME TV guided stand-off missile and Kh-59MK laser-guided stand-off missile.

A 23mm twin-barrel GSh-23 cannon is also mounted on the fighter aircraft.

The advanced multimode radar (MMR) track-while-scan feature allows the tracking and engaging of multiple targets simultaneously. It also provides ground mapping and look-down shoot-down capabilities. The sensor suite provides threat detection, and a low visual signature that helps the aircraft to perform better in close air combat environments. The LCA can also be fitted with additional sensors for guidance, navigation and reconnaissance purposes.

Most importantly, Tejas is powered by a General Electric F404-GE-IN20 turbofan engine. The engine is rated to supply 53.9kN dry thrust and 85kN thrust with afterburn. Fuel tanks are integrated into the fuselage and wings, and auxiliary fuel tanks of 800lt and 1,200lt can be fitted under fuselage to extend the range. An in-flight refuelling probe is also fitted to the starboard side to further extend Tejas’s range and endurance.

India’s efforts to become self-reliant by taking up home production of Tejas aircraft were marred by hitches in the development phase. Through the use of modern design techniques, the indigenous effort might take to the skies soon.

Pak stares at India, India at the world

ISLAMABAD: When a senior security official here was asked why Pakistan was not developing long-range missiles, unlike in India, his answer revealed how these two nuclear foes' geopolitical priorities may be diverging. "We don't have ambitions like India has, so we don't need to develop any further long-range missiles," he said.
"Our missiles cover the entire India, so that's it." Indeed, India has raised eyebrows developing a new long-range missile with a capacity to hit most of China, a signal of how New Delhi's focus is tentatively moving away from an obsession with Pakistan to more global issues.
For decades, these two countries, which have gone to war three times since independence from Britain in 1947, have been synonymous with each other. Diplomats often like to talk of India-Pakistan as "hyphenated".
But India is trying to move from that old beat, seduced more by its growing role in the global economy, its stellar growth and preoccupations with other security issues like China than dealing with what many Indians deride as a "failed state". Pakistan, meanwhile, often seems stuck in its obsession with India, mired in conspiracy theories, reflecting what critics say are decades-old fears that do little to bring regional stability.
It's an imbalance that may help redefine how these nations reach for peace as well as create new risks, making an aspiring and globalised India more vulnerable to regional tension, while making Pakistan frustrated it is losing out to its neighbour. "India sees itself as playing a global role and looks at the region as a stepping stone for its aspirations," said Siddharth Varadarajan, strategic affairs editor for India's The Hindu. "Pakistan sees its ability to be noticed globally as related to its tensions with India." Take China. India is focused on boosting trade with China as part of its growing economic clout in Asia, while ensuring security over a disputed border. The two sides fought a brief but bloody border war in 1962.
For Pakistan, China is simply source of diplomatic support and weapons to counter India. In Afghanistan, where both countries are seen in a proxy war for influence, Indian officials laud $1.2 billion aid as their ability to help bring regional stability through "soft power".
Pakistan sees that as an effort to push it out and wants Indian aid scaled down. The imbalance has already produced tensions with the United States. Washington wants Pakistan to stop worrying about India and focus more on Taliban militants on its Afghan border. President Barack Obama hinted at frustration over Pakistan earlier this year when he said that (Pakistan's) "obsession with India as the mortal threat to Pakistan has been misguided... their biggest threat right now comes internally". Those kind of comments irk Pakistan, where policy makers still see India trying to gain the kind of influence it has in its other South Asian neighbours, like Nepal.
"There are American efforts to persuade us to put troops on our Western border," said Riffat Hussein, chairman of the department of defence and strategic studies at Pakistan's Quaid-e-Azam University. "But no one here is fooled by that." The signing of a US civilian nuclear agreement with New Delhi is another source of tension. For New Delhi, the deal was about having access to the global nuclear power market. Islamabad looked on enviously as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was feted in Washington. Its request afterwards for a similar deal has fallen on deaf ears.
Pakistan worries India's new global role will make New Delhi more arrogant, with fewer incentives for peace when it feels too important to ignore.
Those fears may be exaggerated. Singh, born in Pakistan before Partition in 1947, says India cannot really take its global place without peace in South Asia, with a second attack like Mumbai in 2008, which New Delhi blames on Pakistan-based militants, capable of derailing investor confidence in India's globalised economy. "The most cost-effective thing would be to engage Pakistan to improve the atmosphere to a point where you can reduce the possibility of another Mumbai," said a senior Indian official on condition of anonymity. "We know if we have to get on with it (India's global push), we have to move beyond Pakistan." India is far more vulnerable to economic shock from another major border build-up than it was in 2002, the year of the last major border crisis that saw the countries nearly go to war again. It still has most of its army on the border and steep rises in defence spending are also linked to a perceived Pakistan threat.
So if India has one eye on global affairs, it always has the other on Pakistan, a fact not lost on Islamabad. While former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf offered concessions over the disputed Kashmir region in a failed attempt to reach a peace deal with India a few years ago, his attempts to refocus away from an Indian threat may have proved just a blip. Under new army chief Ashfaq Kayani, one of the most powerful men in Pakistan where the civilian government is weak, there has been a return to talk of the Indian threat, a sign critics say of Pakistan's growing domestic problems. Conspiracy theories about India, often linked to the United States, abound in Pakistan. With growing militancy, attacks and social problems, they won't go away soon.
"The more you lose on the economic front, on bad governance, the more you tend to externalise your problems and fears," said Imtiaz Gul, chairman of Centre for Research and Security Studies."Our conspiracy theories typify that tendency."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Flight tests of laser-guided bombs conducted

The user trials of laser-guided bombs developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) were conducted on Wednesday by Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft over the Pokhran range in Rajasthan.

The ADE is a unit of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The flight tests with the laser-guided bombs were conducted after extensive simulation, design validation and ground experiments.

A series of flight evaluations was done earlier and one of them took place in January.

A DRDO press release said the flight tests had demonstrated the accuracy, reliability and performance of these precision air-launched bombs.

A number of high technology components were developed by the Indian industries for this advanced weapon package, which had reached the maturity level, a DRDO official said.

Friday, June 4, 2010

India working on UAV anti-collision system

Indian aerospace scientists have developed an in-flight collision avert system that prevents unmanned aerial vehicles from crashing into enemy aircraft or other objects.

The model predictive static programming algorithm protection system, developed at the Indian Institute of Science, uses a series of installed collision guidance algorithms as instructions that allow the UAVs to detect objects, especially if they are flying low.

This includes tall buildings, towers and other aircraft, including commercial passenger planes.

The MPSP Algorithm can also be used in medium- and long-range missiles to ensure they don't crash into objects such as anti-missile missiles as they approach their own target. MPSP can redirect the missiles back on course to their target without loss of accuracy.

The developer, Radhakant Padhi, 37, said he has been working on algorithms for aerospace for more than a decade and perfected the algorithm technology during his project related to advanced missile technology at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.

In 2005, Padhi developed an advanced version of the algorithm, called the MPSP algorithm, while working on one of India's missile guidance systems.

Padhi also said he received $80,000 of funding from Air Force Research Lab in the United States to further develop the MPSP Algorithm.

AFRL, operated by the U.S. Air Force Materiel Command, controls the Air Force science and technology research budget. The laboratory was formed in 1997 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. It was a consolidation of the four Air Force laboratory facilities of Wright, Phillips, Rome, and Armstrong as well as the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

It has worked with NASA, Department of Energy National Laboratories, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and other research organizations within the U.S. Department of Defense. Projects include the X-37, X-40, X-53, HTV-3X, YAL-1A, Advanced Tactical Laser and the Tactical Satellite Program.

AFRL, as with similar technology research establishments in the United States, is facing a staffing problem as 40 percent of its workers are set to retire over the next two decades. The country also isn't producing enough scientists to keep up with job vacancies.

One reason for the personnel shortage is a large percentage of science and engineering graduates in the United States are foreign citizens who aren't eligible for work because of security clearances needed for many of the jobs. Government statistics show that 60 percent of all doctoral candidates in the sciences are foreign-born, a report in The Boston Globe newspaper said last year.

"If the requirement is you have to be a U.S. citizen, then you have a large pool that simply isn't eligible," said Mark Regets, a senior analyst at the National Science Foundation who tracks science and engineering graduates and workforce.

Air Force Materiel Command is looking to fill more than 5,000 positions by October 2011, many of them in chemistry, physics, and electrical, aeronautical and environmental engineering. Jobs include researching cleaner fuels, laser-guided weapons, UAVs and cyberprotection.

India to develop missiles with France

After Russia and Israel, India is now all geared up to finalise a missile co-development project with France to manufacture a new range of Short Range Surface to Air Missiles (SRSAM) for the armed forces.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India and the French missile manufacturer Matra BAE Dynamics Alenia (MBDA) will jointly work on this project, according to a news report in the Indian Express.
The defence deal is likely to be signed in the coming months.
Jean-David Levitte, Diplomatic Adviser to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, had last year said that the new system may be the Maitri, and may incorporate technology from India's Trishul SAM and MBDA's MICA.
The project according to the report was initiated in 2007 and has taken more than three years to finalise.
The next-generation low-level, quick-reaction missile which will be inducted by the Army, Navy and Air Force, could also be made available for export.

India To Induct Agni 5 Missile By 2011

India will induct its 5,000 km range nuclear-capable Agni 5 missile by 2011 to allow it to join the group of nations possessing Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile, the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said Tuesday.
"Work is progressing satisfactorily in the development of Agni 5, which is expected to become a reality next year. With this, DRDO would have given India a comprehensive indigenous strategic capability," Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted DRDO chief V.K. Saraswat as saying.
The Agni 5 will be the first canisterised, road-mobile missile in India's arsenal. It will be able to carry multiple warheads and will have counter-measures against anti-ballistic missile systems.
The Agni 5 is a three stage solid fueled missile with composite motor casing in the third stage. Two stages of this missile will be made of composite material.
The missile will utilize a canister and will be launched from it. Sixty percent of the missile will be similar to the Agni III missile. Advanced technologies like ring laser gyroscope and accelerometer will be used in the new missile.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

First flight of Tejas aircraft LSP-4

First flight of Tejas aircraft LSP-4

Tejas aircraft LSP-4 launched itsfirst flight today at a supersonic speed of 1.1 mach that left behind a significant milestone in the aircraft industry. The aircraft of this limited series departed at 1110 hours from HAL’s airport at Bangalore. It landed after a supersonic fly in the air for 40 minutes.

The IAF will finally take control of this aircraft that will be delivered to them in December this year.

The director of aeronautical development agency, P Subramanya said that this launch was a major bench mark for the LSP after the maiden flight flew with supersonic speed.

In order to prove the capabilities of the combat aircraft, DRDO intends to build eight more LSPs under the LCA program.

"The aircraft took off at 1110 hours and landed 40 minutes later. The Test Pilot, Group Captain Suneet Krishna, flew the aircraft to an attitude of 11 kms and went supersonic, touching 1.1 Mach speed," the defense ministry officials said.

Subramanya added that the next step would be to trial the aircraft out in hot weather conditions so the aircraft will now be flown to central India.

The scientists that were involved in the development of the flight included the seniors from ADA, the aeronautical development establishment and also the national aerospace laboratory.

This program was being worked upon from the 80’s by the DRDO which now plans on getting the required IOC (initial operational clearance) for Tejas. DRDO also aims at getting this clearance by the year 2011, and apply for the final operational clearance that it intends to receive by 2012. the final induction of the aircraft into the IAF is worked upon aiming at making the aircraft ready as early as 2012.

‘Indian rockets to soon use atmospheric oxygen as fuel’

A Rohini sounding on its way to space. Developments in aerospace technology will enable rockets to use atmospheric oxygen as fuel. File photo

A Rohini sounding on its way to space. Developments in aerospace technology will enable rockets to use atmospheric oxygen as fuel.

In an attempt to make its rockets lighter and carry heavier satellites, the Indian space agency is planning to flight test by the end of this year its own air-breathing engine that will use atmospheric oxygen as fuel.

Air-breathing engines use atmospheric oxygen and burn it with the stored on-board fuel to generate the onward thrust.

Conventional rockets carry both oxygen and chemical fuel on board.

“We will be doing a series of ground tests of the air breathing engine soon. We are planning an actual launch of a sounding rocket - ATV D02 - powered by such an engine by the end of this year,” an official of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told IANS on condition of anonymity.

The rocket will fly from Sriharikota, India's rocket port located around 80 km from here.

In March, ISRO flew an advanced technology vehicle D01 (ATV-D01) weighing three tonnes from Sriharikota.

ATV-D01, the heaviest sounding rocket developed by ISRO, carried a passive scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet) engine combustor module as a test bed for demonstration of air breathing propulsion technology.

A scramjet consists of a tube through which inlet air is compressed by the high speed of the vehicle, a chamber where fuel is combusted, and a nozzle through which the exhaust jet leaves at higher speed than the inlet air.

Jet engines use a compressor to squeeze air into the engine, then spray fuel into the compressed air and ignite it to produce thrust by funnelling it through the back.

The advantage of air breathing engine is that it makes the rocket lighter - as oxygen is not carried - enabling it to carry heavier satellites.

Further, it reduces the cost of launch and will help make ISRO a very cost competitive player in the global satellite launch industry.

However, as air breathing engine systems can operate only during the atmospheric phase of flight, they will have to be adapted along with the conventional chemical rockets.