India will boldly be going on Venus for the first time and will be re-visiting the Red Planet very soon.
Buried and hidden in hundreds of pages of the new format electronic budget documents is the first formal acknowledgement by government regarding this two new bold inter-planetary sojourns to the Earth’s intermediate neighbors.
This news of upliftment is coming ahead of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) attempting to undertake its mega launch where it will further drop off into space not one, two or three but a full load of 104 satellites+ in space in a single mission.
Hitting Century in a Single Mission:
None of the other countries has ever tried for hitting a century in a single mission. Last world record is hold by Russia which was in 2014 which rocketed 37 satellites by using a modified inter-continental ballistic missile.
If everything goes according to planning on the morning of 15th February, ISRO will hurl into space by use of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) three of Indian satellites and a 101 of small foreign satellites.
India is hoping for making better the previous world record by means of whopping two and a half times.
ISRO which is considered the new kid over the block in the multi-billion dollar world launcher market is hoping to set an enviable benchmark for the space fairing nations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s love affair with the space is quite evident. It seems government is rather pleased with the Indian Space Agency as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley gave the department of space a whopping 23 percent increase in its budget.
Under the space sciences section, budget mentions provisions for Mars Orbiter Mission II and Mission to Venus.
Second mission to Mars is tentatively slated for in 2021-2022 time-frame and as per the existing plans it may well involve putting a robot over the surface of Red Planet.
India Competing Globally:
India’s first mission to Mars was undertaken in 2013 which was purely an Indian mission. French Space Agency wants to collaborate in making the Mars rover.
In fact on its visit to India this month, Michael M Watkins who is the director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA says that they would be keen over at least putting a telematics module so that the NASA’s rovers and the Indian satellites are able to talk to each other.
Second Indian mission to Mars is likely to be all about doing good science since the first one had a nationalistic streak over it. It is in terms of trying to beat China to the orbit of Mars which the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) did magnificently.
India’s maiden mission to Venus which is a second planet of the solar system is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, is in all probability going to be a modest orbiter mission.
Watkins says that a mission to the Venus is very-very worthwhile and is so little understood regarding that planet and NASA would definitely be willing to partner in India’s maiden voyage to Venus.
Over that, NASA and ISRO has already initiated talks this month on trying to undertake jointly studies over using electrical propulsion for powering this mission.
India’s original inter-planetary dreamer K Kasturirangan who is the former chairmen of ISRO says, “India should be part of this global adventure and exploring Venus and Mars is very worthwhile since humans definitely need another habitation beyond Earth.”
Huge Quantity of Satellites:
Closer to home over its 39th launch India’s workhorse rocket the PSLV will be lifting off carrying 1378 kg of robots which are to be deployed in space.
First to be let off will be India’s high resolution Cartosat-2 series satellite which are made especially for monitoring activities of India’s hostile neighbours+ at a resolution which is less than a meter.
It will thus keeping a bird eye view over both Pakistan and China. This earth imaging capability is not unusual but the rest of the passengers are unique.
There are two small Indian satellites which are weighing less than 10 kg which are forerunners of the newer class of satellites which are called Nano satellites which the engineers are seeking to master.
It follows next is a trailblazing performance by the PSLV when at an altitude of over 500 km in space will be releasing from its womb, 101 passengers which are one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, the UAE and whopping 96 from the US.
It is quite recently that American private companies have warmed up to ISRO as India is offering cheap and reliable option.
88 of the American satellites belongs to San Francisco based start-up company Planet Inc which is sending a swarm of small 4.7 kg each satellite which it calls ‘Doves’.
Affordable Launching of Satellites:
This constellation will image Earth like never before and with a higher repeat rate while providing satellite imagery over an affordable cost.
Thus suite of 101 satellites will altogether be weighing 664 kg and will be released in space in a manner akin to a typical school bus which drops off its passengers namely children at respective stops in sequential manner.
It will thus avoid squabbling and elbowing in zero gravity which is not easy. It ensures that no collisions will take place even which is an art that ISRO has mastered from previous launches.
In less than 600 seconds all 101 satellites will be released into space each of which travelling at whopping velocity of about 27,000 km per hour.
Some experts suggests that in a bid for earning money ISRO is actually contributing significantly for creation of space junk as these smaller satellites are really not very useful.