ISRO Mars Orbiter Mission Team Wins Space Pioneer Award


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The men and women behind India’s Mars Mission at ISRO, Bangalore. (Reuters Photo)

ISRO’s Mars Mission team has won the prestigious 2015 Space Pioneer Award in the science and engineering category in recognition of achieving the rare feat in its very first attempt.

The prestigious award given by the National Space Society would be presented to the ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Programme Team during the National Space Society’s 2015 International Space Development Conference to be held in Toronto from May 20-24.

The mission was launched on November 5, 2013 and went into Mars orbit on September 24, 2014.

In a statement, the Society said, this mission has achieved two significant mission firsts. One an Indian spacecraft has gone into orbit around Mars on the very first try (on Sept 24, 2014), which no other country has ever done.

Secondly, the spacecraft is in an elliptical orbit with a high apoapsis (point at which an orbiting object is farthest away from the body it is orbiting), and has a high resolution camera which is taking full-disk color imagery of Mars.

“Very few full disk images have ever been taken in the past, mostly on approach to the planet, as most imaging is done looking straight down in mapping mode. These images will aid planetary scientists,” the statement said.

The Mars Orbiter programme team located in Bangalore is headed by Dr Mylswamy Annadurai.

The Space Pioneer Award consists of a silvery pewter Moon globe cast by the Baker Art Foundry in Placerville, California, from a sculpture originally created by Don Davis, the well-known space and astronomical artist.

Source : NDTV

Isro gets closer to manned mission, tests crew module


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ISRO’s GSLV Mark III (Click Image to Download)

This rocket didn’t put a satellite in orbit. In fact, its payload plunged into the Bay of Bengal 20 minutes after the vehicle lifted off from Sriharikota. And that made it a success, for it was the first step to India’s manned space mission.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) achieved success of a different kind on Thursday when its GSLV Mark III on a suborbital experimental flight carried an unmanned crew module which was ejected at a height of 126km. Re-entering the atmosphere, its parachutes ensured a soft-thud on the sea. Recovered by the Indian Coast Guard, the Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) will undergo tests to ascertain its efficiency in bringing back future astronauts from India.

“Everything went as per plan,” said ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan. “After a decade of developing the GSLV Mk II, we have tasted the first success of an experimental flight. The performances of the solid and liquid stages were as expected. The unmanned crew module worked extremely well.”

Source : Times of india

Isro to Test-Fly Heaviest Rocket, Crew Module on December 18


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(Click Image to Download)

India will test-fly its heaviest and upgraded rocket – the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-Mark III) – on December 18, space agency Isro said Friday.

According to a tweet by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), the 630-tonne rocket will be powered by liquid and solid fuel engines while the cryogenic stage/engine will be a passive one.

The rocket will also carry a crew module to test its re-entry characteristics.

“The main purpose of the mission is to test the atmospheric characteristics and stability of the rocket on its way up. We also decided to use this opportunity to test one component of the crew module – a human space mission that India may embark on at a later date,” M.Y.S Prasad, director of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, told reporters in a recent interaction.

The experimental mission will cost Rs. 155 crores and will not carry any satellite as the cryogenic engine needed for the purpose is still under development, he said.

“This will be India’s new launch vehicle. It is bigger and can carry satellites up to four tonnes,” said GSLV Mark III project director S. Somanath.

The main objective of the crew module is to demonstrate its re-entry flight and aero braking, and end-to-end parachute system validation.

The rocket will go up to 126km and the crew capsule will then detach and fall into the Bay of Bengal, 20 minutes after blast-off.

The descent speed of the crew module will be controlled on board motors for some distance and then by three parachutes.

The module will splash down 600km from Port Blair and 1,600km from the space centre. The capsule will be recovered by an Indian Coast Guard or Indian Navy ship.

Source : NDTV

China’s Main Competitor in Space Exploration is India, Not Russia


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China’s principal competitor in space exploration is India, not Russia, researcher at the Russian Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Vasily Kashin told RIA Novosti on Friday.

“China and India are two new space powers. They have vast resources and consider their space programs from the national prestige perspective ,” the expert said.

He added that China and India are following Russian and US footsteps in space exploration.

“China’s more developed space-rocket industry and immense resources have let it take the lead in the two countries’ space race,” Kashin argued.

Despite being behind China in space exploration, India has a significant advantage, according to the researcher.

“China is still under rigid restrictions on any form of cooperation with the United States, including on the purchase of components…The Chinese are forced to do many things on their own and they sometimes cannot produce components of a required level. The Indians have less resources, but they are in good relations with everyone. India can cooperate with both Russia and the West, adopting their best technologies,” Kashin concluded.

Earlier on Friday, China launched an experimental spacecraft to the moon orbit, which is to return to Earth in eight days. The spacecraft is to test out re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere for the planned 2017 Chang’e-5 lunar mission.