ISRO News and Updates

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by rahulrds1, Aug 31, 2009.

  1. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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  2. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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  3. rahulrds1

    rahulrds1 Regular Member

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    Big opportunities for SMEs in defence sector


    source : CIOL: Information Technology News | IT News | Computer Technology News India | Latest Enterprise Technology
    Big opportunities for SMEs in defence sector - CIOL Editorial

    Tuesday, March 06, 2012
    BANGALORE, INDIA: The recently concluded defence expo in Bangalore gave some good news for country's small and medium businesses (SMBs/SMEs). During the expo, minister of state for Defence Pallam Raju said that the central government is looking at introducing the R&D fund for SMEs to encourage their participation in the defence sector.

    For instance, Bangalore generates nearly 65 per cent of the country's aerospace business. As the minister said, if the new scheme for setting up R&D fund for SMEs comes up during the 12th Five Year plan, it will boost SMEs' presence around Bangalore to make it a hub for defence sector.

    Meanwhile, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which mainly makes combat aircraft for India's defence sector, has said that it would increase its aircraft component buying from SMEs. HAL mainly outsources its component requirement to SMEs around Bangalore, Hyderabad and Nashik.

    CII's report on defence estimates that the Indian defence sector currently comprises over 6,000 SMEs, which supply around 20-25per cent of components and sub-assemblies to the Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), ordnance factories, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the armed forces.

    The increase in spending on defence procurements will open up significant business opportunities for Indian SMEs for integrating themselves into supply chains of national and international defence majors. The defence sector is thus emerging as a lucrative market for SMEs.

    Though the opportunities arising from the defence industry for the Indian SMEs are huge, there are some challenges. SMEs that can be successful are the ones which can innovate, adopt cutting edge technologies, deliver customised solutions, develop and maintain global standard in manufacturing qualities and specifications while maintaining their cost advantages. The challenge, therefore, for the Indian SMEs is to proactively respond to changing customer expectations.
    ©CIOL Bureau


    :hungry: "Its time to start business boys..., cake is big..."
     
  4. JAYRAM

    JAYRAM 2 STRIKE CORPS Senior Member

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    DRDO chief calls for new coding

    March 4, 2012
    DC
    Hyderabad

    [​IMG]
    The Light Utility Helicopter, designed by HAL Bengaluru, is being prepared for display at the India Aviation 2012 expo begining on March 14 at the Begumpet Airport on Saturday. — DC

    India needs to develop advanced encryption or code cryptography to foolproof national security from cyber warfare, the DG, Defence Research and Development Organisation and Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, Dr V.K. Saraswat said.

    He was delivering a lecture on “Cyber Warfare and National Security” at the inaugural function of the 12th research and project exhibition of IIIT-Hyderabad, showcasing the prominent research and projects being carried out at the institute.

    Dr Saraswat said that while India has to develop high level cryptographic tools and keys to protect its information, it should also aim at deciphering the information which is being used against its interests. He added that the need of the hour was a thoughtful security system for countering terrorism. Recalling the cyber attacks on Commonwealth Games ticketing, Dr Saraswat, who played a key role in the development of the Prithvi missile, said that warfare had come a long way from the conventional mode to missiles and finally to using internet and mobile communication systems as launching pads for aggression.

    DRDO chief calls for new coding | Deccan Chronicle
     
  5. JAYRAM

    JAYRAM 2 STRIKE CORPS Senior Member

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    Hackers had a free run during CW Games: DRDO chief

    March 11, 2012
    DC
    chennai

    Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief and scientific adviser to defence minister Dr V.K. Saraswat revealed on Saturday that computer servers of government departments were attacked nearly 200 times during 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

    “There have been many cases of hackers from foreign countries and ethical hackers intruding into our systems in the past,” said Dr Saraswat after being conferred an honorary doctorate by Hindustan University in the city.

    “Hackers had tried to destabilise the Commonwealth Games by hacking into servers of government departments. But, with a strong team of computer experts we were able to counter these attacks,” he said.
    Pointing out that the country needed more mathematicians, physicists and computer experts to counter cyber-attacks, Dr Saraswat said DRDO had planned to develop a strong encryption group to develop encryption techniques to save the servers from cyber-attacks.

    The organisation also plans to design and build servers, routers and operating systems making the country self-reliant in the IT field. He said that DRDO would set up a training institute near Delhi to train the armed forces in mitigating chemical, radiological, biological and nuclear radiation.

    Hackers had a free run during games: DRDO chief | Deccan Chronicle
     
  6. JAYRAM

    JAYRAM 2 STRIKE CORPS Senior Member

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    DRDO develops technology to combat mosquitos

    March 8, 2012
    DC
    Visakhapatnam

    [​IMG]

    The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which develops defence equipment, has now developed a new technology to combat the mosquito menace.

    The new method uses an “attractant” in combination with “insect growth regulators” to form an “attracticide.” It attracts the female mosquitoes to lay eggs in water containing the attractant. These eggs hatch into larva but do not grow into adults. The attracticide uses the “lure and kill” technique to prevent the mosquitoes from propagating.

    Normally, insecticides work for a short duration only. After a while, the insecticides become useless as the mosquito population develops resistance. The use of insecticides is also widely criticised by the environmentalists.

    According to statistics, about 400 species of mosquitoes can spread diseases among human beings. According to the World Health Organisation, at least 700 million people are infected each year by mosquito-borne diseases. In addition, approximately one out of 17 people are killed by mosquito-borne diseases.

    Field trials have been carried out in Delhi by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, which confirmed the efficiency of the attracticide in controlling the dengue vector population.

    The new technology, developed by the DRDO, is simple and cost effective. The technology has tremendous potential to control dengue transmitting mosquitoes globally, said a scientist on conditions of anonymity.


    DRDO develops technology to combat mosquito menace | Deccan Chronicle
     
  7. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    Good news:

    Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence: GSLV-MK-III payload fairing completes acoustic tests at NAL | Inter-stages, strap-on boosters next in line for qualification process

     
  8. Vishwarupa

    Vishwarupa Senior Member Senior Member

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    India's spy satellite Risat-1 to be launched in April

    CHENNAI: A wholly Indian-built spy/surveillance satellite - Radar Imaging Satellite (Risat-1) - that can see through clouds and fog and has very high- resolution imaging is slated for launch in April, a senior official of the Indian space agency has said.

    An official of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said thorough tests were being done on the Risat-1. "The Risat-1 is put to thermal vacuum test (a test to check the satellite's functioning in space environment). It is a complex microwave satellite being built for the first time in India.

    The satellite is expected to be launched in April," the senior official told IANS, not wishing to be named because of the organisational rules.

    In earlier satellites, one major component, the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) was imported, but in Risat-1 that has also been developed in India.

    He said Risat-1 is the first such satellite being built by India and is a bit complex compared to other remote sensing/earth observation satellites built and sent up earlier.

    According to ISRO officials, Risat-1 at 1,850 kg is the heaviest microwave satellite to be built by India.

    The satellite would be used for disaster prediction and agriculture forestry, and the high resolution pictures and microwave imaging could also be used for defence purposes.

    Risat-1 will have all weather, day and night imaging capability.

    The satellite's synthetic aperture radar can acquire data at C-band.

    ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan had said last October that the space agency would launch two more satellites - Risat-1 and SARAL - before 2011-end. But that did not happen. He also said two more satellites - AstroSat and Aditya - will be launched in 2012-13.

    Remote sensing satellites send back pictures and other data for use. India has the largest constellation of remote sensing satellites in the world providing imagery in a variety of spatial resolutions, from more than a metre ranging up to 500 metres, and is a major player in vending such data in the global market.

    In 2009, ISRO had launched 300 kg Risat-2 with an Israeli built SAR enabling earth observation on all weather, day and night conditions. The satellite can look through clouds and fog.

    With 11 remote sensing/earth observation satellites orbiting in the space, India is a world leader in the remote sensing data market. The 11 satellites are TES, Resourcesat 1, Cartosat 1, 2, 2A and 2B, IMS 1, Risat-2, Oceansat 2, Resourcesat-2, Megha-Tropiques.

    According to ISRO officials, the rocket that would sling Risat-1 will be the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle's (PSLV) upgraded variant called PSLV-XL.

    The rocket would weigh around 320 tonnes at lift-off and will be the third such expendable rocket to be sent up by ISRO, and first time to launch a remote sensing satellite.

    ISRO had used the PSLV-XL variant (rocket with extended strap-on motors than what the base model has) for its moon mission (Chandrayaan-1) in 2008 and for launching its communication satellite GSAT-12 in 2011.

    The PSLV is a four-stage (engine) rocket powered by solid and liquid propellants alternatively. The first and third stages are fired by solid propellant and the second and fourth stages are fired by liquid propellant.

    ISRO has developed three PSLV variants. The first is the standard variant weighing around 290 tonnes with six strap-on motors measuring 11.3 metres with a fuel capacity of nine tonnes.

    The other two rocket variants are the PSLV Core Alone without the six strap-on motors and PSLV-XL with longer strap-on motors measuring 13.5 metres having a fuel capacity of 12 tonnes of solid fuel.

    India's spy satellite Risat-1 to be launched in April - The Economic Times
     
    LETHALFORCE and sesha_maruthi27 like this.
  9. rahulrds1

    rahulrds1 Regular Member

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    India's spy satellite to be launched in April

    source : ZeeNews: Latest News Headlines, India Breaking News, World, Cricket, Business, Health, Sports, Entertainment, Technology
    India`s spy satellite to be launched in April

    A wholly Indian-built spy/surveillance satellite - Radar Imaging Satellite (Risat-1) - that can see through clouds and fog and has very high- resolution imaging is slated for launch in April, a senior official of the Indian space agency has said.


    An official of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said thorough tests were being done on the Risat-1. "The Risat-1 is put to thermal vacuum test (a test to check the satellite's functioning in space environment). It is a complex microwave satellite being built for the first time in India. The satellite is expected to be launched in April," said the senior official, not wishing to be named because of the organisational rules.

    In earlier satellites, one major component, the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) was imported, but in Risat-1 that has also been developed in India.

    He said Risat-1 is the first such satellite being built by India and is a bit complex compared to other remote sensing/earth observation satellites built and sent up earlier.

    According to ISRO officials, Risat-1 at 1,850 kg is the heaviest microwave satellite to be built by India.

    The satellite would be used for disaster prediction and agriculture forestry, and the high resolution pictures and microwave imaging could also be used for defence purposes.

    Risat-1 will have all weather, day and night imaging capability.

    The satellite's synthetic aperture radar can acquire data at C-band.

    ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan had said last October that the space agency would launch two more satellites - Risat-1 and SARAL - before 2011-end. But that did not happen. He also said two more satellites - AstroSat and Aditya - will be launched in 2012-13.

    Remote sensing satellites send back pictures and other data for use. India has the largest constellation of remote sensing satellites in the world providing imagery in a variety of spatial resolutions, from more than a metre ranging up to 500 metres, and is a major player in vending such data in the global market.

    With 11 remote sensing/earth observation satellites orbiting in the space, India is a world leader in the remote sensing data market. The 11 satellites are TES, Resourcesat 1, Cartosat 1, 2, 2A and 2B, IMS 1, Risat-2, Oceansat 2, Resourcesat-2, Megha-Tropiques.

    According to ISRO officials, the rocket that would sling Risat-1 will be the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle's (PSLV) upgraded variant called PSLV-XL.

    The rocket would weigh around 320 tonnes at lift-off and will be the third such expendable rocket to be sent up by ISRO, and first time to launch a remote sensing satellite.

    ISRO had used the PSLV-XL variant (rocket with extended strap-on motors than what the base model has) for its moon mission (Chandrayaan-1) in 2008 and for launching its communication satellite GSAT-12 in 2011.

    The PSLV is a four-stage (engine) rocket powered by solid and liquid propellants alternatively. The first and third stages are fired by solid propellant and the second and fourth stages are fired by liquid propellant.

    ISRO has developed three PSLV variants. The first is the standard variant weighing around 290 tonnes with six strap-on motors measuring 11.3 metres with a fuel capacity of nine tonnes.

    The other two rocket variants are the PSLV Core Alone without the six strap-on motors and PSLV-XL with longer strap-on motors measuring 13.5 metres having a fuel capacity of 12 tonnes of solid fuel.
     
  10. trackwhack

    trackwhack Tihar Jail Banned

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  11. rahulrds1

    rahulrds1 Regular Member

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    India to launch Mars mission in Nov 2013

    source : truthdive.com
    India to launch Mars mission in Nov 2013 | TruthDive

    The Indian Space Research Organisation’s prestigious mission to Mars has received a boost with the Budget presented in Parliament on Friday making an allocation of Rs. 125 crore during the coming financial year.

    The overall budget for ISRO has gone up from Rs 4,432 crore to Rs 6,715 crore with several other planned projects at a hike of Rs 2283 crore.

    The Mars mission, which comprises putting a spacecraft in the Red Planet’s orbit to study its atmosphere, could be launched in November 2013 by ISRO’s warhorse rocket — the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

    Top space scientists mostly from the Ahmedabad-based Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), an ISRO-affiliate, have suggested nine experiments that can be a part of the mission. Most of them related to the study of the Martian atmosphere.

    Earlier, ISRO had been aiming at launching the mission either in 2016 and 2018. According to the Budget document, “Mars Orbiter mission envisages launching an Orbiter around Mars using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle [PSLV-XL] during the Novermber 2013 launch opportunity. Mars orbiter will be placed in an orbit of 500 x 80,000 km around Mars and will have a provision to carry nearly 25 kg of scientific payload on- board”.

    However, ISRO official said. “We are yet to finalise the scientific experiments for the Mars Mission.”

    Also fund allocation for the Chandrayaan-II mission, planned for launch in 2014-15, has been Rs82.50 crore. This amount also includes some allocation for Chandrayaan-I mission. The total plan expenditure towards rocket technology is Rs.1,969.52 crore and towards satellite technology is Rs.1,038.56 crore.

    The department of atomic energy (DAE) too got an increased plan outlay for the next fiscal.

    For the DAE, the budget estimate for next fiscal is Rs.11,673 crore as against the revised estimate of Rs.9,895 crore for 2011-12.
     
  12. rahulrds1

    rahulrds1 Regular Member

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    3-day meet to focus on DRDO functioning
    source : 3-day meet to focus on DRDO functioning (The Pioneer : Home)

    Measures to improve the functioning of Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) and allow it concentrate on strategic projects like missiles, network-centric and satellite-based weapon platforms will figure prominently during the three-day conference of DRDO starting here on Monday.

    Defence Minister AK Antony will inaugurate the 36th DRDO Directors’ Conference and the theme of this year’s conference is “Self-Reliance Strategy in Globalised World”. Top brass including Directors of Laboratories, Programme Directors, Corporate and Technical Directors of DRDO Headquarters and Chief Controllers will deliberate on various issues during the three-day event.

    Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, Satpal Maharaj, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma and Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma will attend the inaugural session.
     
  13. JAYRAM

    JAYRAM 2 STRIKE CORPS Senior Member

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    India to launch Mars mission next year

    Published March 17, 2012

    [​IMG]

    The Indian Space Research Organisation’s ambitious plan to send an orbiter to Mars has received a boost with the Budget presented in Parliament on Friday making an allocation of Rs. 125 crore for the mission during the coming financial year.

    The project, which comes on the heels of the Chandrayaan mission to moon, envisages placing a spacecraft in the Red planet’s orbit to study its atmosphere with the help of ISRO’s work horse launch rocket – Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle [PSLV].

    The ISRO had been aiming at launching the mission either in 2016 and 2018. But, it seems the launch could happen earlier, in November next year itself, going by the Budget document.

    According to the document, “Mars Orbiter mission envisages launching an Orbiter around Mars using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle [PSLV-XL] during the Novermber 2013 launch opportunity. Mars orbiter will be placed in an orbit of 500 x 80,000 km around Mars and will have a provision to carry nearly 25 kg of scientific payload on- board”.

    The Budget for 2012-13 also provides an allocation of Rs. 60.46 crore for ISRO’s human spaceflight programme and Rs. 170 crore for its plans to put in place a regional navigation satellite system for the Indian sub-continent on the lines of the U.S.-operated Global Positioning System.

    Besides, the Chandrayaan-II mission to moon, which is planned to be launched in 2014-15, has been provided Rs. 82.50 crore. The amount also includes some allocation for the Chandrayaan-I mission.

    India to launch Mars mission next year | idrw.org
     
  14. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Please Post News Updates related to ISRO Indian Space research Organisation & Discuss..
     
  15. lambu

    lambu Regular Member

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    ISRO to launch Indonesian satellite | idrw.org

    The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) would soon launch an Indonesian satellite into orbit on a turn-key basis, using an indigenously built launch vehicle.

    The ISRO has bagged this job on the basis of the competitive rate it has offered to the Indonesian space agency. This was revealed here by Indonesian diplomatic sources on the sidelines of the Indonesian Ambassador’s interaction with some business leaders who have been invited to set up industrial units there.

    The Indonesian satellite to be put in space through an ISRO launch vehicle, named IinuSat, would be for communication and weather forecasting purpose.

    The IinuSat, weighing about 30 kilogrammes, is being made by students of six universities in Indonesia and the technical experts have already arrived at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram for its integration with the launch vehicle.

    The ISRO would be paid a fee of 100,000 Euros for the launch, said Son Kuswadi, Education Attache in the Indonesian Embassy in India. The launch is scheduled in early 2013, he revealed.

    Indonesian Ambassador Lt General (R) Andi M Ghalib told business leaders here that there is a huge scope for strategic partnership with his country in the fields of plastics, automobiles, textiles and I-T related industries.

    India and Indonesia share an age-old culture and tradition, the Ambassador said, adding that more Indians should invest there as a population of 240 million offers a strong domestic market.
     
  16. plugwater

    plugwater Elite Member Elite Member

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    Things excite me are GSLV with indigenous cryogenic engine and MK-III. Not much arsed about Chandrayaan or Mars missions!!
     
  17. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    any news about launch of GSLV with indigenous cryogenic engine ???
     
  18. JAYRAM

    JAYRAM 2 STRIKE CORPS Senior Member

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    India Looks Toward Mars

    By Jeffrey Marlow

    March 27, 2012 | 11:31 am |


    [​IMG]

    An image of Coulomb C Crater on the Moon taken by the Indian probe Chandrayaan-1 (ISRO).

    On March 16, India took a big step toward a Mars orbiter mission with the release of its budget. The proposal itself might not be particularly revolutionary — such missions have been flown before, if not by India — but the planning strategies and subtext are a fascinating case study of business-as-unusual.

    Although India has only recently begun a period of sustained economic growth and accelerated development, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was created in 1969 with a decidedly Earth-centric mandate. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, one of the key early players at ISRO, answered critics who accused India — a nation with hundreds of millions of its citizens mired in poverty — of misplaced priorities:

    “There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation. To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose. We do not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the moon or the planets or manned spaceflight. But we are convinced that if we are to play a meaningful role nationally, and in the community of nations, we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society.”

    What seemed foolhardy four decades ago now appears to be remarkably plausible as India looks to join the forefront of interplanetary investigation. As NASA’s planetary budget fights for its life and delays become ingrained as a fact of mission planning, India’s Mars probe’s launch date is — in apparent violation of the first law of budgetary physics — actually moving forward in time. Earlier plans pointed to a late-2010s or early-2020s launch, but with a recent infusion of $24 million, the mission could start its voyage as early as November of next year.

    This accelerated schedule is almost comical to scientists and engineers working on instruments for more ossified space programs like NASA and ESA. In the United States or Europe, specific investigators often develop a particular instrument and then try to punch its ticket on a funded mission. Of course, this means there are always more instruments than seats on a mission, and missing the final cut leads to a holding pattern of perpetual tweaking. Ideally, these orphaned instruments have other applications and live long, productive lives as spinoff technologies. Even if they don’t, the institutional knowledge associated with an instrument in constant development means that ambitious missions can be planned to the last milligram to maximize scientific output. (And yet somehow, most missions suffer delays and budget overruns…)

    The ISRO’s accelerated pace creates a very different situation: Scientists are scrambling to select the most promising instruments and rush them through the final stages of development. As recently as January, Indian scientists were brainstorming potential payloads, and the most recent reports identify a shortlist that includes the following instruments: an infrared spectrometer, a thermal emission spectrometer, a color camera, a radiation spectrometer, the Plasma and Current Experiment, the Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyzer, and the Methane Sensor for Mars. Over the next 18 months, these instruments must be miniaturized, ground-truthed, and subjected to rigorous spaceflight compatibility tests. Much of a NASA mission’s timeline is gobbled up in planetary protection procedures; it’s unclear how rigorous ISRO’s microbe-scrubbing procedures are, but this step could further compress the schedule.

    Most of the proposed types of instruments have been to Mars before, but the methane probe offers a fundamentally new capability and an opportunity to scoop NASA. In 2009, Dr. Michael Mumma pointed his telescopes at the martian atmosphere and made measurements that hinted at vast plumes of methane. The sentence following such a declaration should always note that these measurements have raised objections and started contentious debates, but the importance of methane as a biologically implicated gas means that Mumma’s results are worth a second, closer look. NASA is eager to fly a mission to study the martian atmosphere in more detail, but India might beat it to the punch.

    But why is ISRO focusing on Mars? Is a robotic mission to Mars the best use of India’s talent and treasure, or is there some geopolitical maneuvering afoot? India is building off of the success of its Chandrayaan-1 Moon mission, which clearly identified the ISRO as an organization capable of assembling and operating a complicated space mission. India is lagging behind China in the manned space program department, and although human spaceflight is still a line item on ISRO’s budget, India seems to be distinguishing itself from its superpower neighbor by pursuing more scientifically oriented robotic missions.

    Making launch vehicles and mission architectures amenable to humans — pesky organisms that demand specific temperatures, pressures, and gas mixtures — is significantly more complex and delivers a less immediate scientific payout. By focusing on robotic probes, India has a better chance of being globally relevant sooner, making Dr. Sarabhai’s “fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the moon or the planets” more achievable by the day.


    India Looks Toward Mars | Wired Science | Wired.com
     
  19. JAYRAM

    JAYRAM 2 STRIKE CORPS Senior Member

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    India Looks Toward Mars

    By Jeffrey Marlow

    March 27, 2012 | 11:31 am |


    [​IMG]

    An image of Coulomb C Crater on the Moon taken by the Indian probe Chandrayaan-1 (ISRO).

    On March 16, India took a big step toward a Mars orbiter mission with the release of its budget. The proposal itself might not be particularly revolutionary — such missions have been flown before, if not by India — but the planning strategies and subtext are a fascinating case study of business-as-unusual.

    Although India has only recently begun a period of sustained economic growth and accelerated development, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was created in 1969 with a decidedly Earth-centric mandate. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, one of the key early players at ISRO, answered critics who accused India — a nation with hundreds of millions of its citizens mired in poverty — of misplaced priorities:

    “There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation. To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose. We do not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the moon or the planets or manned spaceflight. But we are convinced that if we are to play a meaningful role nationally, and in the community of nations, we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society.”

    What seemed foolhardy four decades ago now appears to be remarkably plausible as India looks to join the forefront of interplanetary investigation. As NASA’s planetary budget fights for its life and delays become ingrained as a fact of mission planning, India’s Mars probe’s launch date is — in apparent violation of the first law of budgetary physics — actually moving forward in time. Earlier plans pointed to a late-2010s or early-2020s launch, but with a recent infusion of $24 million, the mission could start its voyage as early as November of next year.

    This accelerated schedule is almost comical to scientists and engineers working on instruments for more ossified space programs like NASA and ESA. In the United States or Europe, specific investigators often develop a particular instrument and then try to punch its ticket on a funded mission. Of course, this means there are always more instruments than seats on a mission, and missing the final cut leads to a holding pattern of perpetual tweaking. Ideally, these orphaned instruments have other applications and live long, productive lives as spinoff technologies. Even if they don’t, the institutional knowledge associated with an instrument in constant development means that ambitious missions can be planned to the last milligram to maximize scientific output. (And yet somehow, most missions suffer delays and budget overruns…)

    The ISRO’s accelerated pace creates a very different situation: Scientists are scrambling to select the most promising instruments and rush them through the final stages of development. As recently as January, Indian scientists were brainstorming potential payloads, and the most recent reports identify a shortlist that includes the following instruments: an infrared spectrometer, a thermal emission spectrometer, a color camera, a radiation spectrometer, the Plasma and Current Experiment, the Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyzer, and the Methane Sensor for Mars. Over the next 18 months, these instruments must be miniaturized, ground-truthed, and subjected to rigorous spaceflight compatibility tests. Much of a NASA mission’s timeline is gobbled up in planetary protection procedures; it’s unclear how rigorous ISRO’s microbe-scrubbing procedures are, but this step could further compress the schedule.

    Most of the proposed types of instruments have been to Mars before, but the methane probe offers a fundamentally new capability and an opportunity to scoop NASA. In 2009, Dr. Michael Mumma pointed his telescopes at the martian atmosphere and made measurements that hinted at vast plumes of methane. The sentence following such a declaration should always note that these measurements have raised objections and started contentious debates, but the importance of methane as a biologically implicated gas means that Mumma’s results are worth a second, closer look. NASA is eager to fly a mission to study the martian atmosphere in more detail, but India might beat it to the punch.

    But why is ISRO focusing on Mars? Is a robotic mission to Mars the best use of India’s talent and treasure, or is there some geopolitical maneuvering afoot? India is building off of the success of its Chandrayaan-1 Moon mission, which clearly identified the ISRO as an organization capable of assembling and operating a complicated space mission. India is lagging behind China in the manned space program department, and although human spaceflight is still a line item on ISRO’s budget, India seems to be distinguishing itself from its superpower neighbor by pursuing more scientifically oriented robotic missions.

    Making launch vehicles and mission architectures amenable to humans — pesky organisms that demand specific temperatures, pressures, and gas mixtures — is significantly more complex and delivers a less immediate scientific payout. By focusing on robotic probes, India has a better chance of being globally relevant sooner, making Dr. Sarabhai’s “fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the moon or the planets” more achievable by the day.


    India Looks Toward Mars | Wired Science | Wired.com
     
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  20. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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