Second unmanned mission: July 9-16 is Chandrayaan-2 launch window

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch the country’s second unmanned mission to the moon, the indigenously developed Chandrayaan-2, between July 9 and July 16 2019 this year on board a powerful Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)-Mark III rocket from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, 80 km north of Chennai. The Rs 800 crore mission’s lander is expected to make a soft-landing on the lunar surface on September 6 2019 on a high plain between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N — only the second mission so far by any country to land a rover near the Moon’s south pole. This will be India’s first mission to the moon wherein a lander will soft-land on the lunar surface. The October 2008-launched India’s first unmanned mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-1’s only contact with the moon was to shoot one of its payloads, the Moon Impact Probe (MIP), into the lunar surface to raise a lunar dust from its surface — leading to the discovery of water molecules on surface of Earth’s only natural satellite, which caused much excitement among the world’s space scientists. ISRO has explained that Chandrayaan-2, has three modules — an orbiter, a lander (named ‘Vikram’ after ISRO’s first chairman, the visionary space scientist Dr Vikram Sarabhai), and a rover (named Pragyan). The orbiter and Vikram modules will be interfaced mechanically and stacked together as an integrated module and accommodated inside the GSLV MK-III launch vehicle. The rover Pragyan will be housed inside Vikram.  ISRO scientists explained that after launch into an initial orbit around earth by GSLV MK-III, the integrated module will reach the moon’s orbit using the orbiter’s propulsion module. Subsequently, the lander Vikram will separate from the orbiter and soft-land at the predetermined site close to lunar south pole. Once landed, Pragyan will roll out of Vikram to carry out scientific experiments on the lunar surface. Instruments are also mounted on Vikram and Pragyan for carrying out scientific experiments. The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice.


Chandrayaan-2 Will Land On Moon On Sept 6 As ISRO Hopes To Make India Only 4th Country To Do So

India is likely to have a date with history and destiny on September 6 2019, when Chandrayaan-2 will land on Moon. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said it’s mulling to launch Chandrayaan-2, India second lunar mission between 9 and 16th of July. The sources, however, hinted that a lot of work is still pending before the project can be taken for the launch. “All the modules are getting ready for Chandrayaan-2 launch during the window of July 09 to July 16, 2019, with an expected Moon landing on September 06, 2019 9 (sic),” ISRO said in a statement.  The orbiter, lander (Vikram) & rover (Pragyan)-Chandrayaan-2 has three modules, “The orbiter and lander modules will be interfaced mechanically and stacked together as an integrated module and accommodated inside the GSLV MK-III launch vehicle. The rover is housed inside the lander,” ISRO said. ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan told, “Once Vikram lands on the lunar surface on September 6, rover Prayan will come out of it and roll out on the lunar surface for 300-400 metres. It will spend 14 earth days on the moon for carrying out different scientific experiments. Altogether, there will be 13 payloads in the spacecraft. Three payloads in rover Pragyan and the other 10 payloads in lander Vikram and orbiter.” The rover will send data and images back to the Earth after analyse the content of the surface of the Moon through orbiter with 15 minutes, ISRO chairman, Dr K Sivan added. India’s lunar mission was planned in April 2018, but ISRO kept extending the deadline because of the several factor involved in the mission including the problem the erupted in lander Vikram during a test earlier this year.  India was eyeing to become to fourth nation in the world after Russia, US and China to land spacecraft on the Moon and it almost lost to Israel, but Israel’s Beresheet failed to land on the Moon on April 12 and if India successfully lands Chandrayaan-2 on the lunar surface, it will become the fourth country to do so. However, it won’t be easy as a 3,290 kg Chandrayaan-2  because Beresheet tried to land on a plain made after solidification of lava called the Sea of Serenity. It’s a flattened surface with more exposure to Sun, but Chandrayaan-2 will land on south pole and no country except for China has tried landing there.  China in January landed its Chang’e 4 spacecraft on the far side known as the dark side. It’s called dark side because it faces away from the earth and is comparatively unknown.


India’s first solar mission in 2020: ISRO chairman

Kanyakumari: India’s first mission to study the sun, Aditya-L1, will be launched in the first half of next year, chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Dr K Sivan told reporters at Sarakkalvilai in Kanyakumari district. “There are still a lot of things that are to be learnt about the sun,” Sivan said. According to ISRO, Aditya-L1 mission is expected to be inserted in a halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) – which is 1.5 million km from the earth – so that there is a major advantage of continuously viewing the sun without any occultation/ eclipses. Aditya-L1 was meant to observe only the solar corona. When asked about ISRO’s contribution at the time of Fani, Dr Sivan said that satellite images helped in the accurate prediction of the cyclone. “It helped in more efficient evacuation and potentially reduce the loss of life as much as possible,” he added. The ISRO chairman also stated that the whole world was eagerly waiting to see Chandrayaan 2 land at the predetermined site close to the south pole, which had not been explored by anyone before. He added that so far only Rovers used to land in the equator region. Chandrayaan 2 is set to be launched between July 9 and 16 and the expected moon landing is on September 6. Dr K Sivan added that the design phase for India’s human spaceflight mission, Gaganyaan has been completed and is set to be launched before 2022. Dr K Sivan also spoke about ISRO’s programme Yuvika 2019 through which school students would be taken to ISRO for a two-week stint and how it will benefit them. “We’re planning to conduct it every year,” he said. Dr K Sivan said that ISRO has also so far given Tamil Nadu a total of 250 NavIC devices that provides information about weather and real-time updates for fishermen.

 Source :

Young Scientist Programme (Yuvika-2019) Inaugurated

Dr K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO inaugurated the Young Scientist Programme (Yuvika-2019) through video mode from ISRO Headquarters, Bengaluru on May 13, 2019. A total of 110 students representing every State and Union Territory of India are participating in this programme. The participating students will attend the two weeks residential training programme at four centres/units of ISRO/DOS, namely, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram; U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), Bengaluru; Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad and North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC), Shillong. The participants will also be visiting Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Shriharikota, the spaceport of India, during this programme. Yuvika Program is primarily aimed at imparting basic knowledge on Space Technology, Space Science and Space Applications to the younger ones with the intent of arousing their interest in the emerging areas of Space activities. The two week long residential training programme will cover invited talks and experience sharing by the eminent scientists, facility and lab visits, hands on training, exclusive sessions for discussions with experts and a feedback session. While inaugurating the programme, Chairman, ISRO, mentioned that it is a very important science programme for students. He said that this programme would help in inculpating scientific temper of the student. He reiterated that Science and Technology is an essential component for the development of any country and plays a major role for improving the quality of life including safety and security of human beings. Dr. Sivan also touched upon the applications of Space technology and how this technology is helping in the day to day activities of common man besides ensuring safety of life and property during disaster situations. Chairman, ISRO also said that programmes like this will lead to national integration and nation building. He wished that YUVIKA programme should produce a good number of scientists every year. Dr. Sivan wished all the students good luck and promised to meet them during “YUVIKA-SAMWAD” session at SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota on May 17, 2019.


India Successfully Launches Earth Observation Satellite

India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C46) successfully launched its RISAT-2B Earth Observation (EO) satellite from Satish Dhawan Space Center (SDSC). PSLV-C46 lifted-off at 5:30 IST from the First Launch Pad and injected RISAT-2B into a orbit of 556 kilometers (km), about 15 minutes and 25 seconds after lift-off. After separation, solar arrays of RISAT-2B were deployed automatically and ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bengaluru assumed control of the satellite. In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration. RISAT-2B is a radar imaging EO satellite weighing about 615 kilograms (kg). The satellite is intended to provide services in the fields of agriculture, forestry, and disaster management. ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan congratulated the launch vehicle and satellite teams involved in the mission. “With this launch, PSLV lofts 50 tonnes to space by launching 354 satellites, including national, student and foreign satellites.”


Largest liquid Hydrogen storage tank flagged off

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Secretary, DOS & Chairman, Dr. K Sivan, flagged off the shipment of India’s largest liquid Hydrogen storage tank at VRV Asia Pacific production plant at Sri City in Chittoor district. Addressing the gathering, Dr. Sivan congratulated the VRV and other teams for indigenously realising such an advanced version of the liquid hydrogen storage tank. “I consider this as only a beginning for our cooperation, and suggest to VRV to come forward to undertake the fabrication works of onboard tanks of rockets,” he said. S Pandian, Director, SDSC SHAR, said that event stands out as a typical example for ISRO-Industry cooperation for realising import substitutes indigenously. VRV Asia Pacific manufactured the storage tank with a Liquid Nitrogen (LIN) shield, in a collaborative effort with Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, under the Make in India initiative.  The storage capacity of the tank is 120 kilo litres. Liquid hydrogen is used as fuel for satellite launch vehicles.Earlier, on behalf of Sri City, Mr Ramesh Subramaniam, president, Sri City Foundation, greeted the visiting dignitaries. Welcoming the guests, G L Ranganekar, Managing Director, VRV, summarised the technical intricacies of the tank and its realisation process, and thanked ISRO teams for extending full cooperation. He also took them round the plant.


India’s largest ever ‘eye in the sky’ will take on its neighbours

India is upgraded its spy satellite system by launched another ‘eye in the sky’ on May 22. The South Asian country’s new addition will be able to pierce through clouds, and capture ‘the real picture’ of its borders, amidst intensifying geopolitical tensions. The Radar Satellite (RISAT) 2BR1 is the latest addition to the RISAT series of India’s defensive satellites. This is an upgrade over its predecessors and adds to India’s surveillance capabilities. On one side, India will be able to monitor the Indian Ocean for Chinese naval ships more efficiently and, on the other, keep an eye on the Arabian Sea for Pakistani warships.Even Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the Line of Control (LoC) that runs between Pakistan and India will be under surveillance — day and night. RISAT 2BR1 is first of the five planned military satellites that Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has planned for 2019. This is an impressive record for ISRO, which launches one or two military satellites a year. RISAT-1 was successfully launched on 26 April 2012 for a period of five years. It is first indigenous microwave remote sensing satellite designed and developed by ISRO. It was launched by PSLV-C19 into sun’s synchronous orbit at an altitude of 536 km. It was not designed as a surveillance satellite as it relied on the C-band. Its data was extensively used for applications like natural resources management, in areas of agriculture planning, mainly paddy monitoring in kharif season, forestry surveys and disaster management support, during natural disasters like floods and cyclones. About to be deployed RISAT-2BR1 satellite uses same SAR band and will further improve India’s imaging reconnaissance (surveillance) abilities.

Piercing the Clouds

RISAT 1 and RISAT 2 are strong surveillance satellites in their own right. But RISAT 2BR1’s X Band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) can pierce through the clouds, and has a resolution of up to one meter. Increased resolution means, it can decipher between different objects on the ground provided they’re at least a meter apart.

RISAT 2, launched in 2009, was India’s first reconnaissance satellite, also known as spy or intelligence satellites.

The original X Band SAR on board was a military grade sensor radar from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). It was actually launched before RISAT 1, officially an agricultural satellite, in lieu of the 2009 Mumbai terror attacks which called for increased vigilance along the borders. Striking resolution Images from RISAT 2 are known to have played a role in conducting the surgical strikes along India’s LoC in 2016, as well as the 2019 Balakot airstrike. The indigenously manufactured X Band SAR on RISAT 2BR1 uses the motion of the radar’s antenna to scan over the area where the target is assigned. So, rather than use conventional beam scanning to capture an image, X Band SAR uses radar pulse calculations to create a spatial resolution. Larger the aperture, or longer that radar pulses take to return, the higher the image resolution. The RISAT 2BR1 will launch from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh abroad one of the variants of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

 Source: Business insider

Indian Navy’s ‘INS Vela’ of Project 75 Submarine Launched

Indian Navy’s fourth stealth Scorpene class Submarine Vela of Project 75 was launched at the Kanhoji Angre Wet Basin of Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) here. Post the launch, the submarine is set to commence sea trials. The submarines are being built at Mazagon Dock Limited, with the main collaborator being M/s Naval group, France. The Scorpene is a 2000-tons conventional-propulsion submarine designed and developed  for all types of mission, such as surface vessel warfare, anti-submarine warfare, long-range strikes, special operations or intelligence gathering. Extremely stealthy and fast, it has a level of operating automation that allows a limited number of crew members, which reduces its operating costs significantly. Its combat edge is highlighted by the fact that it has 6 weapon launching tubes, 18 weapons (torpedoes, missiles, mines). The Scorpene submarines can undertake multifarious types of missions i.e anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, mine laying, area surveillance etc. The submarine is designed to operate in all theatres, with means provided to ensure interoperability with other components of a Naval Task Force. It is a potent platform, marking a generational shift in submarine operations. Secretary (Defence Production) Ajay Kumar was the chief guest for the launch ceremony and Veena Ajay Kumar was the lady dignitary who performed the ceremony. “The submarine has been named ‘Vela’ after an earlier submarine, which was the lead submarine, of the erstwhile Vela class, the second batch of the Foxtrot class submarines acquired from USSR,” according to a statement. The steel cutting for this submarine commenced in July 2009. The submarine has completed joining of all its sections. This submarine would be using Indigenous developed batteries by M/s Exide, India. “The launch ceremony also signifies that four submarines of this project would be afloat and soon joining the Indian Navy’s submarine fleet,” the statement added. The INS Vela is the fourth of the six submarines of Scorpene class that has completed its out fittings at Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) Mumbai. Vagir and Vagsheer are the remaining two submarines in the country’s Scorpene Submarine programme are in the advanced stages of manufacturing at MDL. A contract was signed in 2005, between French DCNS, and Mazgaon Dock Limited under Indian Navy’s Project-75 for the supply of six submarines. The first submarine INS Kalvari was commissioned in December last year while two other submarines–INS Khanderi and INS Karanj–are in the advanced stages to join the Navy fleet.


Indian Air Force plans to buy advanced ‘bunker buster’ version of Spice-2000 bombs

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is planning to buy an advanced version of the Spice-2000 bomb, which can be used to reduce enemy buildings and bunkers to rubbles in no time. It is to be noted that Spice-2000 bomb was used by IAF’s Mirage-2000 fighter jets in the airstrikes on Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp at Balakot in Pakistan. However, the penetrator version of Spice-2000 bombs was used by the IAF in the Balakot airstrikes which made holes in the concrete rooftops of the buildings in the Jaish camp but did not destroy the buildings. The bombs, however, exploded inside the building killing those who were present inside the building. It’s been widely reported that the Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 jets used SPICE-2000 bombs during the mission to destroy Jaish-e-Mohammad’s Balakot terrorist training camp. Well, it turns out that the SPICE-2000 is not a bomb at all. It in fact is a ‘guidance kit’ that is attached to a standard warhead or bomb. In this case, the actual bombs used during the February 26 2019 Balakot bombing were likely Indian-made warheads manufactured by one our ordnance factories. What the SPICE-2000 did was turn the bomb into a smart device with the ability to glide in the air and make minor adjustments to precisely hit its target. We’ll explain how. SPICE, manufactured by the Israeli defence technology company Rafael, is short for ‘Smart, Precise-Impact and Cost-Effective’. The SPICE guidance kit consists of two pieces — one is attached to the bomb’s head and the other is attached at the end. “The IAF is now planning to acquire the bunker buster or the building destroyer version with Mark 84 warhead which can decimate targeted buildings,” government sources told ANI. It is expected that the acquisition of an advanced version of Spice-2000 would be done through the emergency powers granted to the three services. The emergency powers give the three services authority to buy any equipment of their choice worth up to Rs 300 crore. Sources said that the Army has decided to use this power to buy Spike anti-tank guided missiles deployment to tackle any possible armoured threat posed by the enemy troops. The IAF is planning to acquire an advanced version of Spice-2000 bomb from Israel which is one of the main weapon and ammunition supplier of the Air Force. A SPICE bomb has a standoff range of 60 kilometres and approaches the target as its unique scene-matching algorithm compares the electro-optical image received in real-time via the weapon seeker with mission reference data stored in the weapon computer memory and adjusts the flight path accordingly. SPICE 2000 consists of an add-on kit for warheads such as the MK-84, BLU-109, APW and RAP-2000. The IAF had conducted the Balakot airstrikes on February 27 2019 in response to the terrorist attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama which resulted in the martyrdom of 40 CRPF personnel.

 Source: Zee Media

Hyper-sonic BrahMos 2 is becoming a distant dream for Indian Armed forces?

Russian-Indian joint venture Brahmos Aerospace was supposed to work on the development of hypersonic BrahMos 2 cruise missile which was later renamed as BrahMos 2K, K standing in memory for Kalam but the program development which has been in talks from 2011 onwards is yet to see the light of the day, makes many wonder, why the program is yet to take off and remains only to be seen at defense expo. BrahMos 2K missile was capable of flying at speeds of Mach 5-Mach 7 and according to then BrahMos chief in 2012, they had carried out series of lab tests at the speed of 6.5 Mach and first fully-functional prototype of the missile was supposed to make it debut by 2017-18 which has long gone. Hypersonic weapons are missiles and aircraft capable of reaching speeds of Mach 5 and more – or five times the speed of sound. They are extremely difficult to intercept due to their overwhelming speed and maneuvering capabilities. BrahMos-II will confer on India a major strategic advantage in mountain warfare against China. The missile is designed to select targets hidden behind a mountain range. The hypersonic weapon’s immense destructive power will result from kinetic energy. An object striking a target at 6 Mach will generate 36 times the force of an object of the same mass striking the target at 1 Mach. This phenomenon makes hypersonic weapons well suited to attacking hardened or deeply buried targets such as bunkers or nuclear and biological-weapon storage facilities. While the US, China, and Russia have joined the Elite Hypersonic club, entry of India into it has been denied or refused to maintain elitism of the Hypersonic club, since it clearly seems that Russia is reluctant to transfer Hypersonic weapons system or is simply asking for too much money to develop BrahMos 2K with India. Like seen in the ASAT program, India will need to develop its own Hypersonic missile system to enter into this Elite Hypersonic club or be ready to be left out behind. since the Hypersonic missile system are considered as Game changer in any war, for now, Russia is holding the high bargaining chip and might have agreed to increase range of current BrahMos from Mach 2.9 to 3.5 only as interim measure to satisfy current need to modernize BrahMos system. At Aero India 2015, the new CEO of BrahMos Aerospace, Mr Sudhir Mishra said that scientists had quietly begun work on the hypersonic version of the supersonic BrahMos missile. He expressed the view that the India may be the first country in the world to field a hypersonic missile “in the next 7-12 years”. This pushed the timeline for the BrahMos II back to 2022-2027. But in 2016, the marketing director of BrahMos Aerospace, Mr Praveen Pathak, suggested that this was not true in an interview with the Russian TASS news service. He said that work on the hypersonic BrahMos would begin in 2022, and that a prototype would be ready two years later in 2024. At this point, it’s likely that earlier work on the hypersonic missile was wiped clean, since Mr Pathak suggested that the missile’s shape and design were not known. During the interview, he stated that “the preliminary design is now being developed.” In 2018 this was pushed back further. Mishra told that “We will require seven to ten years from now to become a hypersonic missile system,” suggesting that the hypersonic BrahMos would only reach service between 2025 and 2028. So where does the BrahMos II stand in 2019? In a report about the BrahMos at Aero India 2019, it was simply said that the hypersonic version would exist “in a few years.” While this is far more realistic, given that Russia has nearly completed development of its own missiles, time will tell if the BrahMos II is delayed yet again. The BrahMos II project may suffer the same fate as many other Indian defense projects if a rapid need for a hypersonic missile is revealed in the region. While the original BrahMos project was a successful joint venture between India and Russia, it largely proceeded on schedule. BrahMos II has not.