ASTROSAT all set to be launched next year: former ISRO chairman

ASTROSAT all set to be launched next year: former ISRO chairman

Dr. Madhavan Nair

One more satellite 'Aditya' to study Sun's coronal mass ejection (CME) will be launched in two years while the science mission to planet Mars by 2013, Nair said addressing a galaxy of scientists from India and abroad and the student community at the Grand Finale function of Bhabha Centenary celebrations which concluded today.

The multi-wavelength astronomy mission ASTROSAT on an Indian remote sensing satellite-class satellite in a 650-km, near-equatorial orbit will be launched next year, he said.  It will be launched by the Indian launch vehicle PSLV from the Sriharikota launchpad. The expected operating life time of the satellite will be five years.

`Adiyta' will be launched in next two years to study the properties of CMEs, that are gigantic bubbles of electrified gas that billow away from the Sun. CME can carry as much as 10 billion tons of solar material and trigger spectacular geomagnetic storms if they hit Earth's magnetosphere.

CMEs, which usually travel at speeds between 500 to 1500 km per second, take 2 or 3 days to cross the 150 million km divide separating the Sun and Earth.

About India's Mars mission, Nair said various concepts about going to Mars and nearby objects are being looked into and it is at a conceptual stage right now. "We have the capability and will be using Geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) for launching the Mars mission," he said.

"The ISRO has begun the preparations for sending a spacecraft to Mars and discussions are thrown out to find what are the things we have explore in Martian atmosphere," he said. Earlier this year Union Government sanctioned seed money of Rs 10 crore for Mars project to carry out various studies on experiments to be conducted, route of the mission and other related details necessary to scale the new frontier.

About Chandraan II mission, he said "it is going to be one our flagship mmission and is  expected to be launched in 2013.Yesterday ISRO had conducted a review of the instrumentation required for the mission,"he said.

"The design for Chandrayaan-II is ready which includes an orbiter, lander and rover which will be used to study the surface of the moon in detail including the moon magma," Nair said. He also explained that last year, ISRO had sent to space a capsule which was recovered after keeping in orbit for 22 days. The Space Recovery Experiment (SRE) was seen as a technology demonstrator for future manned missions.

He also impressed upon the student community from various colleges that ISRO is also actively working on atmospheric science and developing a parallel local weather forecasting system which can predict weather in a specified locality before 72 hours. ISRO is having a joint venture with France, the Megha-Tropiques Mission (MTM), to study the water cycle in the tropical atmosphere in the context of climate change, he added. It is a collaborative effort with the French Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, he said.

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