ISRO announcement highlights: Chandrayaan-2 to launch mid-April, reusable launch vehicle to be tested

ISRO plans to invest time & money in developing tech for the Gaganyaan 2020 mission this year.

LIVE UPDATES from ISRO's briefing about Chandrayaan-2 and other important space missions in 2019.

The Indian Space Research Organisation has called a briefing to share progress and what could be a save-the-date for India's second mission to explore the moon, Chandrayaan-2.

The mission has seen three delays since its original March 2018 launch already, with a fourth looking very likely according to a recent report in the Times of India.

ISRO Chairman K Shivan (right) at ISRO HQ. Image: tech2/Kavya N

ISRO Chairman K Shivan (right) at ISRO HQ. Image: tech2/Kavya N

That said, if a delay is likely, ISRO could have good, strategic reasons for it this time. After China succeeded in making a historic landing of its Chang'e-4 rover on the moon's far side on 3 January, many similarities between Chang'e-4 and Chandrayaan-2 became apparent. While the missions differ in their instruments and design, they do share many of the same core objectives and are surveying areas of the moon that aren't too far away from each other.

Considering the tough competition between the Indian and Chinese space programs, any further delays could be ISRO's way of keeping things interesting and breaking new ground. The Rs-800 crore Chandrayaan-2 mission comes ten years after ISRO's first probe to the moon.

The Chandrayaan-2 Rover during a mobility test. Image courtesy: ISRO

The Chandrayaan-2 Rover during a mobility test. Image courtesy: ISRO

Chandrayaan-1 discovered the first evidence of water on the moon, putting ISRO on the world map as a worthy contended in space exploration. In the years to come, ISRO also plans to explore Earth's near neighbours: a second orbiter to study Mars (Mangalyaan-2) and an orbiter and balloon to explore Venus (in Shukrayan-1).

In 2019 alone, ISRO has 32 missions on the cards, including a test demonstration of a whole new breed of ISRO rocket – the SSLV, or the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle. Once complete and tested, this will be the world's cheapest and lightest launch rocket for small satellites.

The agency also plans to invest a sizeable part of its Rs 9,000-crore budget and its time towards the Gaganyaan mission this year, putting together rockets and life support systems in preparation for two test flights in 2020.

ISRO's Chairman, Dr K Sivan, is expected to share updates on where Chandrayaan-2 stands and what we can expect from the other 31 missions over the remaining months of 2019.

 

 

Tech2 is now on WhatsApp. For all the buzz on the latest tech and science, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Tech2.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.

highlights

read more
  • 11:56 (IST)

    SSLV technology demonstration

    ISRO's newest category of small satellite launchers, the SSLV, will only require 6 people to operate from the ground. It will be the cheapest and lightest launch vehicle in the world.

    The first of SSLV's test launches is planned for July 2019, Sivan said.

  • 12:41 (IST)

    How long will Chandrayaan-2 take to reach the moon?

    35 to 45 days to begin its work on the moon. Is someone goes straight, they can reach in 4 days. But ISRO plans to give the spacecraft a 6-step boost, which will take a month and a half for the mission to finally get to the moon.

  • 12:36 (IST)

    ISRO's Reusable launchers won't work like SpaceX's

    The fourth stage of the PSLV is also something ISRO intends to design for reusability.

    In an upcoming PSLV-C44 mission, ISRO is testing an extended use of PSLV's fourth stage for 6 months after launch. ISRO isn't working on rockets that land vertically like SpaceX, but one that will land like an aeroplane on a runway after completing its intended launch.

  • 12:28 (IST)

    On the Chandrayaan-2 mission's rover

    "It will come out of the lander, rove around and do some sub-surface exploration up to 500 meters under the moon's surface," Sivan said.

    The life of Chandrayaan-2's orbiter is a year, but the lander and rover will last a fortnight – 14 Earth days on the moon. 

  • 12:24 (IST)

    Interplanetary exploration missions to come

    "We know the sun, but we still haven't understood it," says Sivan about the Aditya-L1 mission, which will is slated to lift off in January 2020.

    Also on the cards is a mission to Venus in 2023, which we will hear more about a few months from now.   

  • 12:21 (IST)

    NavIC's GPS to reach mobile phones soon 

    GPS services from India's own NavIC satellites could reach our mobile phones in just a few more months. ISRO is in talks with the government about the specifics. 

  • 12:17 (IST)

    Why have two unmanned missions?

    The Environment, Control and Life Support systems on Gaganyaan are the biggest new component that need testing, and this will need one unmanned mission to test the new technologies developed, and another mission to verify and make sure – without the use of any animals like other early manned space experiments in the past – that it is safe and ready for astronauts.

  • 12:08 (IST)

    ISRO's startup incubator

    Once the planned incubator under ISRO opens its doors to startups in India, the agency will invite proposals for problems ISRO is attempting to address and assign contracts to those that best meet their needs.

  • 12:05 (IST)

    Astronaut training for Gaganyaan 

    Initial training sessions for the Gaganyaan mission's chosen astronauts will be in India, but the more advanced stages of training will be carried out abroad, most likely in Russia, Sivan said.

  • 12:03 (IST)

    Chandrayaan-2 mission update

    ISRO is looking a window between 25th of March to end of April for India's second moon mission. The most likely date is middle of April for Chandrayaan-2's launch.

    While the mission was intended to liftoff between January and February, ISRO was unable to complete the required tests in time to meet the mission's deadline.  

  • 11:59 (IST)

    PSLV commercial launch 

    L&T and HAL will take over production of PSLV rockets this year as part of ISRO's move to industrialize the launcher to save on time and cost.

  • 11:59 (IST)

    Reusable launch vehicle demonstration

    Chairman says he's bummed that the media hasn't given the reusable launch vehicle enough attention. He added that the reusable launch vehicle will also see a test launch this year.

  • 11:51 (IST)

    New Centre under ISRO for human space program

    Gaganyaan mission isn't going to end with launching a human in space. The program will require ISRO to make big expansions, and bring new activities and plan into the fold. Space stations

    A new Centre for human spaceflight program will be set up under ISRO to carry out training of astronauts and a few other engineering aspects of human spaceflight.

  • 11:46 (IST)

    UNNATI and Sammaan programs

    The UNNATI (UNispace Nanosatellite Assembly & Training by ISRO)  will be inaugurated later this month on 17 January, the Chairman said.

    The Sammaan mission where Dr K Sivan spent time with students and spoke about opportunities and plans for ISRO and India in space was also started this year, with the first one in December 2018. This month, on the 20th January in Cochin, will be the second such session under the agency's outreach. 

  • 11:41 (IST)

    An overview of how far ISRO has come

    ISRO's Chairman begins with an overview of what the agency has accomplished in 2018: 17 launch vehicle missions, 9 spacecraft missions & a crew module demonstration for the GSLV Mk-III rocket.

    Also successful was a launch of the heaviest satellite ISRO has built and launched till date, the GSAT-11 into orbit.

  • 11:41 (IST)

    An overview of how far ISRO has come

    ISRO's Chairman begins with an overview of what the agency has accomplished in 2018: 17 launch vehicle missions, 9 spacecraft missions & a crew module demonstration for the GSLV Mk-III rocket.

    Also successful was a launch of the heaviest satellite ISRO has built and launched till date, the GSAT-11 into orbit.

  • 11:19 (IST)

    32 missions in 2019

    ISRO has a packed calendar over the coming few months. Here's a glimpse of what's in store as to launches and satellites!

    The Chairman, Dr K Sivan, had announced these numbers in his New Year letter on 2 January. 

  • 11:04 (IST)

    What we're expecting

    Our best guess at what the big news could be about is a date for India's second mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-2!

    Here's a detailed look at what we know so far (save, the date) for this milestone in India's space story.
     

      

  • 11:03 (IST)

    Minutes left before K Sivan begins his brief 

    ISRO announced that they've got some news to share today about key missions for India's space ventures in 2019. Dr K Sivan, Chairman of ISRO is expected to take the podium any minute now and kill the suspense in the room.  





also see

science