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.