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Recap 2023: Important Missions by ISRO

1. SSLV-D2/EOS-07 Mission is successfully accomplished

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The SSLV-D2, launched on February 10, 2023, from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota, successfully placed EOS-07, Janus-1, and AzaadiSAT-2 into a 450 km circular orbit in a 15-minute flight. SSLV is a cost-effective launch vehicle designed for up to 500 kg payloads to Low Earth Orbit, offering on-demand launches with minimal infrastructure. EOS-07, a 156.3 kg satellite by ISRO, introduces mm-Wave Humidity Sounder and Spectrum Monitoring Payload. Janus-1 (10.2 kg) is from ANTARIS, USA, and AzaadiSAT-2 (8.7 kg) is a joint effort by 750 Indian girl students under Space Kidz India guidance. The SSLV, standing at 34 m with a 2 m diameter and 120 t lift-off mass, underscores its flexibility, low cost, and swift turnaround time.

Mission Objectives

  • Demonstration of designed Payload capability of SSLV in LEO
  • Injection of EOS-07 satellite and two passenger satellites Janus-1 & AzaadiSAT-2 into 450 km circular orbit.

2. LVM3 M3/ OneWeb India-2 Mission accomplished successfully

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LVM3 M3/ OneWeb India-2 Mission is accomplished successfully. In its sixth consecutive successful flight of LVM3, the vehicle placed 36 satellites belonging to the OneWeb Group Company in their intended 450 km circular orbit with an inclination of 87.4 degrees. The vehicle took off with a total payload of 5,805 kg at 09:00:20 hours IST from the second launch pad at SDSC-SHAR, Sriharikota. It achieved satellite injection conditions in about 17 minutes and began injecting the satellites from the twentieth minute. The vehicle performed a sophisticated manoeuvre to orient in orthogonal directions and injected the satellites into precise orbits with defined time-gaps to avoid collision of the satellites.

3. Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission (RLV LEX)

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ISRO achieved a significant milestone with the successful Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission (RLV LEX) at Aeronautical Test Range, Chitradurga, Karnataka on April 2, 2023. The RLV, lifted by a Chinook Helicopter, reached 4.5 km altitude and was autonomously released. The landing, simulating space re-entry conditions, involved cutting-edge technologies such as Navigation hardware, Pseudolite system, Ka-band Radar Altimeter, NavIC receiver, indigenous Landing Gear, Aerofoil honey-comb fins, and a brake parachute system.

This marked the world’s first autonomous landing of a winged body released by a helicopter. The RLV, a space plane with a low lift to drag ratio, demonstrated high-speed, unmanned, and precise landing, enhancing the cost-effectiveness of ISRO’s operational launch vehicles. The mission, led by Dr. Jayakumar M, Project Director, RLV, involved collaborative efforts with IAF, CEMILAC, ADE, and ADRDE. Chairman ISRO/Secretary DOS Shri S Somanath commended the achievement.

4. PSLV-C55/TeLEOS-2 Mission

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On April 22, 2023, at 14:19 hours IST, ISRO successfully launched PSLV-C55/TeLEOS-2 from SDSC-SHAR, Sriharikota, in a dedicated commercial mission through NSIL. The primary satellite, TeLEOS-2, developed in partnership with DSTA and ST Engineering, weighs 741 kg and serves Singapore’s government agencies with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) capabilities for all-weather, day and night imaging at 1m full-polarimetric resolution.

The co-passenger satellite, Lumelite-4, weighing 16 kg, is a joint effort by I2R and STAR of the National University of Singapore. Lumelite-4 aims to demonstrate the High-Performance Space-borne VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) for enhancing maritime safety and benefiting the global shipping community. The mission also features the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module (POEM-2), utilizing the spent PS4 stage for scientific experiments by ISRO/Department of Space, Bellatrix, Dhruva Space, and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics.

5. GSLV-F12/NVS-01 Mission

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GSLV-F12/NVS-01 mission is accomplished successfully on Monday, May 29, 2023. This Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) mission deployed NVS-01 navigation satellite, weighing about 2232 kg, into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit. The vehicle lifted off at 10:42 hours IST from the second launch pad at SDSC-SHAR, Sriharikota and injected the satellite after about 19 minutes of flight.

NVS-01 is the first of the second-generation satellites envisaged for the Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) services. NVS series of satellites will sustain and augment the NavIC with enhanced features. This series incorporates L1 band signals additionally to widen the services. For the first time, an indigenous atomic clock will be flown in NVS-01.

6. LVM3-M4-Chandrayaan-3 Mission

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Mission Overview:

India’s Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched its third lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3, on July 14, 2023, carrying the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover. Notably, it aimed for a first-ever soft landing at the Moon’s south pole.

Key Mission Objectives:

Chandrayaan-3 sought to demonstrate a soft landing, deploy the Pragyan rover for lunar exploration, conduct scientific experiments on lunar water ice and minerals, and advance India’s technological capabilities in lunar exploration.

Mission Highlights:

The mission featured a successful launch, precise orbital maneuvers, and the separation and descent of the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover for the critical landing attempt.

Current Status:

As of December 29, 2023, the official confirmation of a successful landing on the Moon’s south pole is pending, with communication lost just before the expected touchdown. ISRO is actively working to re-establish communication and assess the situation.

Overall Significance:

Chandrayaan-3, despite the communication interruption, marks a substantial advancement for India’s space program. Venturing into the unexplored lunar south pole, the mission pushes the boundaries of lunar exploration, generating valuable scientific data and experience for future lunar endeavors.

7. PSLV-C56/DS-SAR Mission

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The launch of PSLV-C56 carrying DS-SAR satellite, along with 6 co-passengers from the first launch-pad of SDSC-SHAR, Sriharikota is accomplished successfully on July 30, 2023 at 06:30 hrs IST.

PSLV-C56 is configured in its core-alone mode, similar to that of C55. It would launched DS-SAR, a 360 kg satellite into a Near-equatorial Orbit (NEO) at 5 degrees inclination and 535 km altitude.

DS-SAR

The DS-SAR satellite is developed under a partnership between DSTA (representing the Government of Singapore) and ST Engineering. Once deployed and operational, it will be used to support the satellite imagery requirements of various agencies within the Government of Singapore. ST Engineering will use it for multi-modal and higher responsiveness imagery and geospatial services for their commercial customers.

DS-SAR carries a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payload developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). This allows the DS-SAR to provide for all-weather day and night coverage, and capable of imaging at 1m-resolution at full polarimetry.

8. PSLV-C57/Aditya-L1 Mission

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Aditya-L1 Mission Overview:

Aditya-L1 marks India’s pioneering solar space mission, stationed in a halo orbit around the Sun-Earth L1 Lagrange point at a distance of 1.5 million km from Earth. This unique orbit ensures uninterrupted observation of the Sun, providing real-time insights into solar activities and their impact on space weather.

Payloads and Scientific Focus:

The spacecraft is equipped with seven payloads designed for observing the photosphere, chromosphere, and the solar corona. These include electromagnetic, particle, and magnetic field detectors. Four payloads directly observe the Sun, while the remaining three conduct in-situ studies at Lagrange point L1, contributing crucial scientific data on solar dynamics in the interplanetary medium.

Science Objectives:

Aditya-L1’s primary science objectives include studying solar upper atmospheric dynamics, investigating chromospheric and coronal heating, exploring the physics of ionized plasma, and understanding the initiation of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and solar flares. The mission aims to provide essential data on the solar corona’s temperature, velocity, and density, examine the development and origin of CMEs, and unravel the sequence of processes leading to solar eruptive events. Additionally, the mission focuses on magnetic field topology and measurements in the solar corona, contributing to our understanding of space weather drivers, including solar wind origin, composition, and dynamics.

Significance:

Aditya-L1 is poised to offer crucial information to comprehend coronal heating, CMEs, solar flare activities, and the dynamics of space weather. With its advanced instruments, the mission is geared towards comprehensive observations of the solar atmosphere, enhancing our understanding of solar phenomena and contributing to space weather predictions.