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Sunday, June 25, 2017

ISRO & GSLV MK III launcher, GSAT-19

ISRO has been a pioneer of Indian Space programme and has been continuously making efforts to boost India's position in the space programme. Various scientists have contributed in helping ISRO reach to where it is now today. ISRO is world's 6th largest space Agency and it continues to thrive on raising its standards. 

About ISRO:
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is the space agency of Government of India which was formed in 1969 by the combined efforts of the then Prime Minister Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru and his close aide Vikram Sarabhai (Scientist and innovator) who identified the role of space technology in Nation’s development.

ISRO then came into a structure to attain its mission to provide the Nation with  space-based services and to develop the technologies to achieve its mission independently. Throughout the years, ISRO has been achieving its mission, and in the process, it has become the 6th largest space agency in the world. ISRO has till now launched 90 spacecraft missions (including 2 Nano satellites), 63 launch missions (including Scram jet – TD and RLV – TD), 9 student satellites, 2 re-entry missions and 209 Foreign satellites of 28 countries.

ISRO maintains one of the largest fleet of communication satellites (Indian National Satellite System – INSAT) and remote sensing (Indian Remote Sensing – IRS), which is helpful in giving fast and reliable information. To achieve complete self-reliance, it was essential to develop cost-effective and reliable launch systems which shaped up in the form of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Later, in order to address more heavier and demanding launches Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) was developed.

Launchers or Launch Vehicles are used to carry spacecraft to space, India has two operational launchers – PSLV, GSLV and Sounding Rockets. The launchers have been named after the technology from SLV to GSLV and Scramjet Engine – TD in future.
  • SLV:
Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV) which is an all-solid, four stage vehicle weighing 17 tonnes with a height of 22 meters and capable of placing 40 kg class payloads in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). SLV – 3 was India’s 1st experimental satellite launch vehicle on August, 1979 from Sriharikota Range (SHAR) which was partially successful and again on July 18th, 1980 SLV – 3 was successfully launched and there were more launches held in May 1981 and April 1983. The key satellites were Rohini carrying IRS.
  • ASLV:
Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) program was designed to augment the payload capacity to 150 kg, thrice that of SLV–3 for LEO. ASLV with a lift off weight of 40 tonnes, 24 m tall with five stage all-solid propellant vehicle with a mission of orbiting 150 kg class satellites into 400 km circular orbits.
  • PSLV:
Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), lift off mass of 320 tonnes, 44m tall with four stages all-solid and variants of PSLV-G, PSLV-CA and PSLV-XL. It’s the 3rd generation launch vehicle of India. After the first successful launch in 1994, PSLV emerged as a reliable and versatile workhorse launch vehicle of India with 39 consecutively successful missions by June 2017. During the period of 1994 – 2017 the vehicle launched 48 Indian satellites and 209 satellites for customers from abroad. The vehicle successfully launched two spacecrafts Chandrayaan – 1 in 2008 to moon and Mars Orbiter Spacecraft in 2013 to Mars.
Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark II (GSLV MK II) is the largest launch vehicle developed in India, which is currently in operation. The 4th generation launch vehicle is a three stage with four liquid strap-on, 49.13 m height and 414.75 tonnes lift off weight. From January 2014, the vehicle has achieved four consecutive successes.
Sounding Rockets are one/two stage solid propellant rockets used for probing the upper atmospheric regions and for space research. They also serve as easily affordable platforms to test or prove prototypes of new components or subsystems intended for use in launch vehicles and satellites. ISRO started launching indigenously made sounding rockets from 1965 and the experience gained was of immense value in mastering the solid propellant technology.
Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV III) is a three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle developed by ISRO. The vehicle has two solid strap-ons, a core liquid booster and cryogenic upper stage. It is designed to carry 4 ton class of satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) or about 10 tons to LEO, which is about twice the capability of GSLV MK II.

  • RLV-TD:
Reusable Launch Vehicle – Technology Demonstrator (RLV – TD) is one of the most technologically challenging endeavours of ISRO, towards developing essential technologies for a fully reusable launch vehicle to enable low cost access to space. Integrated flight management and Thermal protection system evaluation are the mains objectives of RLV – TD.
The 1st experimental mission of ISRO’s Scram Jet Engine towards the realization of an Air Breathing Propulsion System was successfully conducted on August 28, 2016 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR), Shriharikota. They carry weight of 3277kg at lift-off.

What is GSLV MK III, GSAT-19 all about? 
What is the reason for launching this satellite? 
How this will be useful for India?


The main mission of GSLV MK III is to carry 4 ton class of satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) or 10 tons to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), which is about twice the capacity of GSLV MK II. The 1st developmental flight of GSLV MK III, the GSLV MK III – D1 successfully placed GSAT–19 satellite (heavier communication satellite to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) on June 5th, 2017 from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota.

The satellite GSAT– 9, is a satellite which ISRO is undertaking as a mega experiment at India’s rocket port SHAR. Tapan Misra, director of Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad, where the GSAT–19 satellite has been designed, calls it:
“A Game Changer Communications satellite for India”
According to the experts, the satellite can be the first to provide “Internet services using a space-based platform”.

Reasons for GSAT-19 launch & Impact in India

The single GSAT-19 satellite will be equivalent to having a constellation of 6-7 of the older variety of communication satellites in space. Today, out of a constellation of 41 in-orbit Indian Satellites, 13 are communication satellites. A truly “Made in India” satellite that will empower a digital India that is in the making. In fact, scientists at ISRO suggest that GSAT-19 is just a trailer, the real movie which is GSAT-11 satellite will go up in few months that is a mighty communications platform.
  • The new features which are used in GSAT-19 are being tested by launching, which will become an intrinsic part of the systems on future missions and many new technologies.
  • The batteries we have used in the satellite are of Lithium-ion batteries, these batteries have been made so that India’s self-reliance quotient can increase. And similar batteries can be used in cars and other electrical vehicles.
  • Important experiment to understand how to make space-based components more radiation resistant.
  • Internet services may not be unleashed immediately but what the country is putting together is a capability in place which is important specially to connect places that are literally off the fibre optic internet backbone. For example, New Delhi just can’t rely on optical fibres, copper-based telephony and mobile cellular services as alternative.
  • This will not have transponders, and instead it will beam data using multiple frequency beams. According to experts, this feature will also let the satellite beam more data to the ISRO.
Note: The views expressed here are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of DOT as a whole.

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