Saturday, December 20, 2014

GSLV Mark III with crew module launched successfully

India successfully launched its biggest ever rocket on Thursday, including an unmanned capsule which could one day send astronauts into space, the latest accomplishment of its ramped-up space programme.

The rocket, designed to carry heavier communication and other satellites into higher orbit, blasted off from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

On Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the test mission as "yet another triumph of (the) brilliance and hard work of our scientists."

"This was a very significant day in the history of (the) Indian space programme," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman KS Radhakrishnan said from mission control as fellow scientists clapped and cheered.

ISRO scientists have been riding high since an Indian spacecraft successfully reached Mars in September on a shoe-string budget, winning Asia's race to the Red Planet and sparking an outpouring of national pride.

Although India has successfully launched lighter satellites in recent years, it has struggled to match the heavier loads sent up by other countries.

The new rocket, weighing 630 tonnes and capable of carrying 4 tonnes, is a boost for India's attempts to grab a greater slice of the $300-billion global space market.

"India, you have a new launch vehicle with you. We have made it again," ISRO mission director S Somnath said.

The rocket - officially named the Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III - was carrying an unmanned crew capsule which ISRO said successfully separated from the rocket and splashed down in the Bay of Bengal off India's east coast 20 minutes after liftoff.

The Indian-made capsule is designed to carry up to three astronauts into space.

ISRO says the crew capsule project would take at least another seven years to reach the point where an astronaut could be put into space.

Monday, December 15, 2014

INS Arihant start trials

India’s first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant was on Monday flagged off for sea trials from Visakhapatnam harbour by defence minister Manohar Parrikar.
INS Arihant, the first in the series of nuclear-powered submarines being manufactured indigenously, is a 6,000-tonne vessel powered by 83 MW pressurised light water reactor, defence ministry sources said.
Once inducted, the submarine will help the country complete its nuclear triad giving it the capability to respond to nuclear strikes from sea, land and air-based systems. Nuclear triad is the ability to fire nuclear-tipped missiles from land, air and sea-based weapon platforms.
Arihant will help India achieve the capability of going into high seas without the need to surface the vessel for a long duration.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

GSAT-16 placed in orbit

After its launch was deferred twice due to bad weather, India's latest communication satellite GSAT-16 was placed in orbit by Ariane 5 rocket in the early hours today from the space port of Kourou in French Guiana.

The European launcher blasted off at 2.10 AM (IST) and hurled the GSAT-16, designed to augment the national space capacity to boost communication services, into space in a flawless flight.

GSAT-16 was launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). 

Indian satellite's co-passenger DIRECTV-14, built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operator DIRECTV to provide direct-to-home television broadcasts across the US, was also launched by Ariane 5 VA221, marking 63rd successful mission in a row for the rocket.

"Ariane 5 delivers DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 to orbit on Arianespace's latest mission success", Arianespace said on its website.

With a lift-off mass of 3,181 kg, GSAT-16 carries a total of 48 communication transponders, the largest by a communication satellite developed by the ISRO so far.

The DIRECTV-14 spacecraft was deployed first in the flight sequence, separating from Ariane 5 nearly 28 minutes after liftoff, followed four minutes later by its GSAT-16 co-passenger, Arianespace said.

Delivering a total payload lift performance of approximately 10,200 kg, the mission designated Flight VA221 in Arianespace's numbering system lofted DIRECTV-14 for operator DIRECTV, along with GSAT-16.

The capacity crunch has forced ISRO to lease 95 transponders on foreign satellites mainly for private TV broadcasters' use.
The satellite will boost public and private TV and radio services, large-scale Internet and telephone operations.

GSAT-16 will be finally positioned at 55 deg East longitude in the Geostationary orbit and co-located with GSAT-8, IRNSS-1A and IRNSS-1B satellites.

India's rockets PSLV and the present GSLV do not have the capability to launch satellites of more than two tonne class, prompting ISRO to opt for an outside launch.

ISRO is developing the next big launcher, GSLV-MkIII, which can put satellites of up to 4 tonnes in orbit.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Largest indigenous built was ship INS Kolkota inducted


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inducted India's largest indigenously built warship INS Kolkata in Mumbai. Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral RK Dhowan were also present at the ceremony.
Modi congratulated everyone associated with the project and said, "INS Kolkata is an example of intellect prowess of Indian engineers, technicians and security experts."
Modi also highlighted that his government has taken important steps to improve indigenous defence technology. He said, "In the Budget we have taken several steps for defence offsets. We dream to make India strong to export defence equipment to the world."
While remembering Chhatrapati Shivaji at the event, Modi said, "Chhatrapati Shivaji understood the importance of securing the seas for increasing trade."
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and Admiral RK Dhowan also congratulated the Navy.
The warship has been constructed by the Mazagon Dockyards Limited and has been designed by Navy's design bureau, defence officials said.
The 6,800 tonne warship, which is over three years behind schedule, is a technology demonstrator and will showcase a giant leap in shipbuilding technology in the country, they said.
INS Kolkata will be a part of the Kolkata Class destroyers of the Indian Navy which will include follow-on ships by the name of INS Kochi and INS Chennai respectively.
The keel of the warship was laid down in September 2003 and the ship was launched in 2006.
Its original commissioning was planned in 2010 but due to several project delays, it will now happen in 2014. The ship had also suffered a mishap during the trial phase when a Navy officer lost his life during an incident in the fire-fighting equipment of the vessel.
As part of her pre-commissioning weapon trials at sea, INS Kolkata test-fired a BrahMos missile off Karwar's coast last month.
India is also building an over 40,000 tonne Indigenous Aircraft Carrier christened INS Vikrant but it will take another three-four years before it gets inducted into the Navy.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

PM Modi dedicates largest warship INS Vikramaditya to nation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday dedicated India's largest warship INS Vikramaditya to the nation. He urged to make the country self-reliant in manufacturing defence equipment, shedding dependence on imports. In his first outing after taking charge as Prime Minister, he addressed the naval personnel onboard the ship off the Goa coast, calling the addition of the warship to the force as a "historic" step.

"It is an important day for our nation. It is a golden day in Indian Navy's history. For me, it is a matter of pride and happiness that INS Vikramaditya is joining the Navy. It is a historic step," he said.

Stressing on the need for self-reliance in defence equipment manufacturing, he said, "We need to give immense importance to latest technology. This will help the nation.

Why should we import defence equipment? We must be self sufficient. Why can't we send our defence equipment to other nations."

The Prime Minister also promised to set up a War Memorial for those who sacrificed their lives for the country.
He said this government has come with a determination and was committed to implement the "One Rank, One pension" scheme for defence personnel.

"Our government has the potential to match anyone in the world and the reason for this is the capability of our soldiers who give us the strength to do so," he said in his address, adding that the country intends to move forward in the same manner, without lowering its eyes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi sits in a MiG 29K on board INS Vikramaditya on June 14.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a meeting with Navy officers on board INS Vikramaditya on June 14. Chief Minister of Goa Manohar Parrikar and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral RK Dhowan are also seen.


He also called for setting up a Naval NCC network across the country that could prepare a dedicated force of soldiers which could help the Navy emerge as a big force in the coming times.
Arriving on board the warship in a Sea King chopper, the Prime Minister was given the ceremonial guard of honour by the Navy and was briefed about the warship.
He also sat in a MIG 29 aircraft and had a feel of the combat fighter on the ship.
The Prime Minister spent a few hours on board the 44,500-tonne warship, his first visit to any defence facility. The prime minister was accompanied by Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Defence Secretary R K Mathur and Naval Chief Admiral Robin Dhowan.
During his stay on the ship, acquired from Russia for over Rs.15,000 crore, Modi witnessed 'air power demonstration' by various naval aircraft, including MiG 29K, Sea Harriers, P 8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft, TU 142M and IL-38SD maritime surveillance planes along with Kamov and Sea King helicopters.
He also witnessed high-speed manoeuvres by the Navy's Western Fleet ships including aircraft carrier INS Viraat, Delhi-class destroyers and Talwar-class frigates.
The air demonstrations were, however, hampered by heavy rain.
Modi interacted with the senior officers and the crew.
The deal for the aircraft carrier was signed during the previous NDA regime in 2004 and the ship will be dedicated to the nation after a gap of ten years.
The vessel had joined the Indian Navy on November 16, 2013. The ship was earlier commissioned by the then defence minister A K Antony in Russia.
Vikramaditya, a floating airfield, has an overall length of about 284 metres and a maximum beam of about 60 metres, stretching as much as three football fields put together.
Standing about 20 storeys tall from the keel to the highest point, the ship has a total of 22 decks and carries 1,600 personnel.
With her complete stock of provisions, she is capable of sustaining herself at sea for about 45 days.
It is a modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier which was purchased by India from Russia for the Indian Navy in 2013.
The ship has been renamed in honour of Vikramaditya, a legendary 1st century BC emperor.
Originally built as Baku and commissioned in 1987, the carrier served with the Soviet (until the dissolution of the Soviet Union) and Russian Navies before being decommissioned in 1996 as it was too expensive to operate.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

AURA , The Future of Indian Airforce

AURA or Autonomous Unmanned Research Aircraft is an Indian initiative at building an Unmanned Combat Air vehicle (UCAV) with special preference given to the stealth features. The examples of these UCAV’s are X47 of US , Dassault nEUROn (France) & BAE Taranis , all of which are on the initial stage of development & testing. The X47b program of US Navy being front runner as it has recently started taking off from the US Aircraft carriers.

The purpose of the DRDO is to provide the Indian Air force with an option to deliver the payloads to enemy location without endangering the life of the pilot . This will act along side with the PAK-FA & AMCA , the 5th Generations of fighter aircrafts that will start showing up on the IAF inventory towards the end of this decade or start of the next. The AURA program is also meant to compete with the other programs to provide the IAF with the best technically advanced UCAV which will form the backbone of the airforce in the next decade .

The important point to note is that DRDO has already made progress in the field of UCAV with the introduction of RUSTOM -2 UCAV which if going through the trails & is expected to enter service in few years. With two or more prototypes being built till now ,DRDO is fast tracking its UAV/UCAV programs to meet the requirements of the IAF.It also expected that most of the basic technological requirements for developing the UAV/UCAV will be tested on RUSTOM programs first before being implemented on to the AURA project.

One of the basic difference between the AURA & RUSTOM program is that the former is a stealth UCAV powered by a jet engine (possibly non after burning version of kaveri ) while the latter is a prop based engine . Both of this programs fulfill different purposes with Indian Armed forces ,one will serve as a surveillance UAV with long term endurance while the other will lead the attack on the enemy forces .

With the progress of DRDO programs in the coming days AURA is expected to make its first flight in 2015 .There is very less information about the program in the public domain because of it being a Black project, but the DRDO has shown its capabilities in the past years & Indian military establishment is also confident on the project.

One of the hurdle in the AURA project is the engine which is expected to be Kaveri non afterburning version , DRDO has not made progress in the indigenous jet engine project & the Indian military continues to depend on the foreign engine manufacturers for their requirements. With AL-41 & RD33 from Russia , F414 from US & Adour from Rolls-Royce the country depends on many manufacturers to keep its equipment's at par. The HAL manufactures some of these engines at India but one of the most important aspect of the engine manufacturing ,the blades of the engine comes from abroad & HAL just do the assembly work.

If the engine problem is solved by the DRDO bases Labs India will join the elite club of U.S,France,U.K. &Russia with jet engine manufacturing technology. China is also making strives of progress in this field but is still struggling with ws10 engine for its fighter aircrafts .

We only hope that DRDO make progress with the engine technology & the stealth technology so that project AURA could become reality for the IAF .With AMCA & FGFA projects the DRDO labs are already working on the stealth aspect of the project.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

India successfully test fires exo-atmospheric missile interceptor

The exo-atmospheric missile interceptor was successfully test-fired at the defence base in Odisha. This is the first time an exo-atmospheric missile is test fired as part the development of missile shield.



The indigenous Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile was fired from Wheeler Island off the coast near Dhamra port in Bhadrak district, about 170 km from here.



The missile intercepted an incoming ballistic missile as required, a modified variant of the Prithvi fired from a ship off the coast near the integrated test range at Chandipur-on-sea in Balasore district, about 70 km from Wheeler Island.

This test is to be followed by trial of cruise missile Nirbhay (whose maiden test had failed last year) and air-to-air missile Astra next month.


"The test was successful," test range director M.V.K.V. Prasad told IANS. "It is for the first time that we have successfully conducted the test of an exo-atmospheric interceptor," he said.

“The PAD interceptor missile has already demonstrated its killing capability at an altitude of 50 km and 80 km while the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile has destroyed the target missile at an altitude of 15 km to 30 km. Now the target is to achieve the interception at an altitude of 120 km to 150 km,” said the official.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

India's second navigation satellite placed : One step closer for Desi GPS


The Indian space agency launched the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV successfully 25 times in a row, bringing India one step closer to its own global positioning system or the 'desi' GPS. 

The 44 meter, 320 ton, PSLV rocket successfully lifted off into the sky at 5.14 PM from Sriharikota and 19 minutes later accurately placed India's second navigation satellite  IRNSS-1B in space.  A jubilant K Radhakrishnan, the ISRO Chairman, said, "PSLV in its 25th successive successful flight precisely injected India's second regional navigation satellite."   

The first Indian navigation satellite IRNSS-1A launched last year in July is working normally. All seven satellites are to be launched by March 2014.

The satellite navigation system will be a fleet of seven satellites that help provide precise locations within 20 meters. The 'desi GPS' or IRNSS will be similar in function to the American Global Positioning System (GPS) but regional in coverage. 

The Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) is an autonomous regional satellite navigation system being developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) which would be under complete control of the Indian government. The requirement of such a navigation system is driven by the fact that access to foreign government-controlled global navigation satellite systems is not guaranteed in hostile situations. The IRNSS would provide two services, with the Standard Positioning Service open for civilian use and the Restricted Service, encrypted one, for authorised users (military).

India will be the sixth country in the world, after America, Russia, Europe, China and Japan to have this system. This is vitally necessary in times of war since most modern precision bombs and missiles depend on accurate positioning. Till now most of us have relied on the American GPS, very popular on smart phones but not accurate enough for military applications as it can't be relied upon for seamless coverage in times of war and the in-built error makes it un-suitable for precision strikes. 

The constellation of Indian satellites will continuously beam down data that can be read by special hand held instruments which when calibrated using sensors based on the ground can help pin point location. Today in its 26th flight India's workhorse rocket the PSLV hoisted a 1432 kilogram special satellite that also carries on it a precision clock called an atomic clock. The entire fleet of satellites is likely to be ready by 2016 when Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System will become operational.  

India's satellite system is designed to cover a region of about 1500 km on either side of the border, essentially covering the geographical region from where India has a perception of threat, and both Pakistan and China are within the footprint.