Indian Space Programme Discussion

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby member_28108 » 07 Jan 2015 21:06

Gagan wrote:Thank god that sriharikota is an island, a decision made after careful evaluation.

But shouldn't it have an airstrip as well hain ji? Why not airlift sats, engines from Kerela, Banglore-kerela, tamil nadu directly to sriharikota?
Why take the land route hain ji?
Why make it difficult for dilli billis to reach the place? First land in chennai, say namaskaram to Jaya didi, then catch a Mi-8 to the place hain ji?

I believe they have a 2 Km runway there.I may be corrected.

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby SSSalvi » 07 Jan 2015 21:32

^^^

No.

Just to confirm ( if anything has come up recently ), scanned google maps image.. not found any. Longest structures are the tracks for moving Assembly towers.

=====

BTW, Is anyone aware of any image showing the internals of solid fuel stage ( shape of solid fuel block ) of SLV or PSLV or GSLV or any rocket motor? Thanks in advance.

====

Added later:

Thanks Prannasimhaji for the link provided below.
Last edited by SSSalvi on 08 Jan 2015 04:24, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby shravanp » 07 Jan 2015 21:36

That looks amazing & pretty ambitious.

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby member_28108 » 07 Jan 2015 22:09

SSSalvi wrote:^^^

No.

Just to confirm ( if anything has come up recently ), scanned google maps image.. not found any. Longest structures are the tracks for moving Assembly towers.

=====

BTW, Is anyone aware of any image showing the internals of solid fuel stage ( shape of solid fuel block ) of SLV or PSLV or GSLV or any rocket motor? Thanks in advance.


I found a report that there is a 2 Km runway

Tarmak007
14 hrs ·
ISRO wants 5-km runway to test ‪#‎RLV‬. Current runway in Sriharikota is only 2 km, reports TOI @isro

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby member_28108 » 07 Jan 2015 22:19

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-fuel_rocket


Image


http://www.slideshare.net/cperiasamy/astronautics-lecture10

has got some pictures inside in one of the slides


The students at IIST created a new grain profile for their student built rocket Vyom. Vyom 2 is the next rocket which will be launched this year.

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby symontk » 08 Jan 2015 06:53

You can walk to Sriharikota from mainland, if you really wants too. Only the canal might have water and lake is mostly dry whole thru the year

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby member_28108 » 08 Jan 2015 07:02

I Google Maps over sensitive Indian regions "current" as faras I know India has insisted that these maps should be out of date for some period and Google is complying. I know areas in Bangalore that are shown images that are at least 4-5 years old.

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby prashanth » 12 Jan 2015 10:05

Fourth navigation satellite launch in March

The fourth navigation satellite of the country is getting ready for launch in March, and it will be another step forward for India in evolving its own navigation satellite system and not depend on the Geographical Positioning System (GPS) service of the U.S.

Cryogenic propulsion systems on board PSLV-C27 rocket :roll: that will launch the satellite are being developed by scientists of the ISRO Propulsion Complex at Mahendragiri in Tirunelveli district.

S. Ingersol, group director of the complex, told The Hindu, “Totally, seven satellites are required to be launched to complete the configuration under the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) and already three had been launched.

Dr. Ingersol said launch of the remaining four satellites would be completed in one year and after that India’s dependency on the U.S. for GPS service would be significantly reduced. “This will trigger the much-needed development in geographic information systems.”

The Mahendragiri complex was developing the second and fourth liquid stages needed for the launch vehicle.

“Advance research by ISRO scientists has made India go for launching heavier satellites of three to four tonnes from our own soil,” he said.

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 12 Jan 2015 10:12

Yeah, i saw that too, the cryogenic stage for the upcoming C-27. The reporter mixed it up with on-going GSLV cryo-stage testing.Looks like the reporter visited Mahendragiri facilities and is not much into 'space'.

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby prashanth » 12 Jan 2015 10:37

SSridhar wrote:Looks like the reporter visited Mahendragiri facilities and is not much into 'space'.


That's the problem. The reporter could have had this article reviewed by his ISRO contacts from Mahendragiri before publishing. In fact, this procedure must be made compulsary for any techical article published in media.

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby SSSalvi » 12 Jan 2015 20:35

^^^
In the background of both posts above:

I Had not seen airstrip at SHAR in my several technical visits .. last in 2007.

But just to confirm I asked a person who spent his work life time at SHAR and retired as one of the top 5 personnel there ..
- his reply is that " There are two Helipads .. no airstrip".
---

Yes the reporters must ensure correctness of facts at least on technical matters by offering their preliminary report to their 'ushers' from the facilities.

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby member_28108 » 12 Jan 2015 23:04

SSSalvi wrote:^^^
In the background of both posts above:

I Had not seen airstrip at SHAR in my several technical visits .. last in 2007.

But just to confirm I asked a person who spent his work life time at SHAR and retired as one of the top 5 personnel there ..
- his reply is that " There are two Helipads .. no airstrip".
---

Yes the reporters must ensure correctness of facts at least on technical matters by offering their preliminary report to their 'ushers' from the facilities.


Thanks for the clarification SSSalvi.

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby member_28108 » 12 Jan 2015 23:07

Government appoints Kiran Kumar Alur Seelin as ISRO chairman
By Aman Sharma, ET Bureau | 12 Jan, 2015, 09.35PM IST
NEW DELHI: The government has appointed Kiran Kumar Alur Seelin, a key figure behind Mangalyaan, as the new Secretary, Department of Space and the ISRO Chief for the next 3 yrs, succeeding K. Radhakrishnan who superannuated on December 31.

Seelin, who was a Director in the Space Application Centre, will be Chairman of the Space Commission and Secretary, Department of Space on re-employment on contract basis for the next three years, an order issued by the Appointments Committee ofCommittee of Cabinet (ACC) said. Radhakrishnan, who was holding these posts, had superannuated on December 31 after being granted a brief extension by the government.


Seelin is credited for leading the team which developed three of the five scientific instruments fitted on the Mars Orbiter Mission satellite. The space scientist was awarded Padma Shri by the government last year.

He joined ISRO in 1975 and has contributed to the design and development of Electro-Optical Imaging Sensors for Airborne, LEO and GEO platform based imaging sensors starting from Bhaskara TV payload to the latest payloads for Chandrayaan-1 missions. He has made very significant contributions in evolving the observation strategy encompassing, Land, Ocean atmospheric and planetary studies.

Seelin has also steered the design and realisation of communication, navigation, microwave and remote-sensing payloads for many satellites. He obtained his B.Sc. (Honours) in Physics and M.Sc. in Electronics from Bangalore University and an M.Tech. in Physical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby member_28108 » 12 Jan 2015 23:09

ISRO looks for industry partner for fire-resitant emulsion
By PTI | 12 Jan, 2015, 05.02PM IST

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/science/isro-looks-for-industry-partner-for-fire-resitant-emulsion/articleshow/45854329.cms

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby member_28108 » 12 Jan 2015 23:38

Alur Seelin Kiran Kumar received his Physics (Honours) Degree from National College, Bangalore University in 1971. He obtained his Masters Degree in Electronics from Bangalore University in 1973 and thereafter M. Tech Degree in Physical Engineering from Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore) in 1975. Shri Kiran Kumar joined Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 1975. He has contributed to the design and development of Electro-Optical Imaging Sensors for Airborne, LEO and GEO platform based imaging sensors starting from Bhaskara TV payload to the latest TMC ad HySI payloads for Chandrayaan-1 missions. He has made very significant contributions in evolving the observation strategy encompassing, Land, Ocean atmospheric and planetary studies. Important contributions cover -

Ø Realizing three tier imaging concept for IRS-1C to Resourcesat-1
Ø Ocean Colour instruments to cater to PFZ forecast
Ø High Resolution along track stereo imaging system of Cartosat-1
Ø Achieving sub-meter resolution optical imaging capability with TES to Cartosat-2
Ø Realizing of meteorological payloads of 2-channel and 3-channel VHRR
Ø Third generation Imager and Sounder from GEO platform
Ø Terrain Mapping Camera and Hyper Spectral Imager for Chandrayaan-2 mission.

As Associate Director he has steered design and realization of communication, navigation, microwave and remote sensing payloads at the Centre.

He is recipient of many a laurels/awards like –

· Indian Society of Remote Sensing Award for the year 1994.
· VASVIK Award (Electronic sciences and technology) for the year 1998.
· Astronautical Society of India Award (Space sciences and Applications) for the year 2001.
· ISRO Individual Service Award 2006.
· Bhaskara Award conferred by Indian Society of Remote Sensing for the year 2007.
· Laurels for Team Achievement Award 2008 of International Academy of Astronautics.
· ISRO Performance Excellence Award 2008.

He is a (i) Fellow of National Academy of Engineers and (ii) Corresponding Member of International Academy of Astronautics.
He has represented ISRO in international forums like World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and Committee on earth observation satellites (CEOS) and is currently CEOS chair.

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby member_28945 » 13 Jan 2015 01:03

Hello all. First post to the forum. I am not Indian but I am a fan of human spaceflight. Congratulations to the ISRO on their successful test of the GSLV Mk. III. I am impressed by India's desire to proceed with a human spaceflight program. I had some ideas about how that could be accelerated:

A liquid-fueled Indian manned launcher.
http://exoscientist.blogspot.com/2014/1 ... ncher.html

Bob Clark

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby Bade » 13 Jan 2015 01:14

AS Kiran Kumar is the first person from SAC to head ISRO, other than the founder director himself. Did UR Rao also work at SAC or was he B'lur based ? This probably indicates where the activity in future is going to be focused on, Payloads. :-)

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby SSSalvi » 13 Jan 2015 07:47

^^^
URRao never worked ;) at SAC.

He had visited SAC ( from ESCES days ) when He was at PRL, Ahmedabad. ESCES ( Part of DAE ) was turned into SAC after DOS was formed. Later of course his made several visits.
He was not tied to any specific city .. MIT, Texas Univ, JPL, PRL, ISRO Hq .......

Col Pant who was Director, SAC was part of Space commission and also on advisory board .. but never became Chairman.
Another Director , Yash Pal , was moved to different deptt.

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby sunilUpa » 13 Jan 2015 07:54

UR Rao worked at PRL after returning from the US. Then he was at ISRO HQ in B'Lore. He still works in the HQ.

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby juvva » 13 Jan 2015 10:34

RGClark wrote:Hello all. First post to the forum. I am not Indian but I am a fan of human spaceflight. Congratulations to the ISRO on their successful test of the GSLV Mk. III. I am impressed by India's desire to proceed with a human spaceflight program. I had some ideas about how that could be accelerated:

A liquid-fueled Indian manned launcher.
http://exoscientist.blogspot.com/2014/1 ... ncher.html

Bob Clark


Welcome to the forum Bob.

I think it is very unlikely that ISRO will take up development of what amounts to a new launcher at this juncture, it will most likely be concentrating its limited resources on the ongoing ULV and RLV projects instead.

However if we are talking possible scenarios, would it be possible to use the existing 2nd stage ( 2 x Vikas ) of GSLV-MK3 as boosters? In this case only two boosters would be required.

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby alexis » 13 Jan 2015 10:48

Kiran Kumar is 62 years old. How long can he continue? I thought one retires by 60.

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby SSSalvi » 13 Jan 2015 11:41

^^^
Generally in ISRO , the 'indispensable' persons get 2 years extension on a fixed pay. It is not service .. on contract.

Next 1 year for a really deserving candidate.

Chairman's tenure is determined by a special committee and I think it may have power to decide on a case by case scenario.

Madhavan Nair became chairman on his retirement and held post for 6 years .. so upto 66 years.


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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby member_28945 » 14 Jan 2015 08:47

juvva wrote:
RGClark wrote:Hello all. First post to the forum. I am not Indian but I am a fan of human spaceflight. Congratulations to the ISRO on their successful test of the GSLV Mk. III. I am impressed by India's desire to proceed with a human spaceflight program. I had some ideas about how that could be accelerated:

A liquid-fueled Indian manned launcher.
http://exoscientist.blogspot.com/2014/1 ... ncher.html

Bob Clark


Welcome to the forum Bob.

I think it is very unlikely that ISRO will take up development of what amounts to a new launcher at this juncture, it will most likely be concentrating its limited resources on the ongoing ULV and RLV projects instead.

However if we are talking possible scenarios, would it be possible to use the existing 2nd stage ( 2 x Vikas ) of GSLV-MK3 as boosters? In this case only two boosters would be required.


The problem with that is it does not have enough thrust. In fact that is the reason why the two solid boosters are used on the Mk3, because they have a lot of thrust. See the specifications here:

GSLV Mk. III Launch Vehicle Overview.
http://www.spaceflight101.com/gslv-mk-iii.html

Looking at the sea level thrust values you see this is only a little above that of the gross weight of the 2nd, ie., core stage. So you wouldn't be able to lift off with much as payload when you are also carrying the cryogenic upper stage.

However, I did notice the thrust values and Isp values of the Vikas 2 on this www.spaceflight101.com page are somewhat better than the values I was using from the Spacelaunchreport.com page. I'll see how much this improves the payload using these numbers on my configuration.

Bob Clark

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby member_28945 » 15 Jan 2015 18:28

I plugged in the more accurate values for the GSLV launchers on the http://www.spaceflight101.com page and was surprised to see the payload went up to 9,000 kg(!). This is close to the 10,000 kg payload capacity of the more expensive GSLV Mk. III itself.
Note also this configuration with four liquid side boosters is similar to that of the Soyuz launcher used for decades for manned flight.

A liquid-fueled Indian manned launcher. UPDATED.
http://exoscientist.blogspot.com/2014/1 ... ncher.html

Bob Clark

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby disha » 17 Jan 2015 07:11

^^ So the current Indian liquid fuel engines are not "weakass"'ed as it is made out to be.

Bob, you will get a surprising result when you change certain things in your thought experiment.

Instead of using the 4 liquid strap'ons (L-40) from GSLV MkII on the side of the GSLV-MkIII., why not use 2 liquid L-110 strap ons, which are of the same size as the liquid core of the GSLV-Mk III.

And see the difference :-)

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby member_28945 » 18 Jan 2015 20:06

Thanks for responding. I used Dr. John Schilling's Launch Performance Calculator at http://www.silverbirdastronautics.com/LVperform.html to estimate these payload values. I've found it's within 10% accurate when I tested it on known liquid-fueled rockets. It wasn't as accurate though when calculating the case for rockets that had large solid side boosters such as the shuttle and Ariane 5. Perhaps this is due to the large variations in thrust that solids have.
Anyway to use the calculator input the vacuum values for the thrust and Isp, even for the stages that fire from the ground. And for the "Inclination" input the latitude of the launch site. For instance for Satish Dhawan input 13.9 degrees. A quirk of the calculator is that the option "Restartable Upper Stage?" will reduce the payload if you click "Yes" here, so click "No". Perhaps this is because some propellant in the upper stage is kept on reserve when you click "Yes" here.

I tried the case where three GSLV Mk. III core stages were connected in parallel, a la the Delta IV Heavy, and I only got in the range of 2,500 kg payload. An explanation for why this is: the calculator assumes that all three cores are firing at the same rate and therefore all three will be depleted at the same time...


Aack!! Sorry, I input the wrong value for the thrust there. I input the thrust for a single Vikas engine listed for the core as 766 kN since that was how it was listed in the specifications for the core on the page for the GSLV Mk. III. However, the core has two Vikas engines, so the thrust for the core should be entered as 1,532 kN. Entering in the correct values I got 9,300 kg as the payload, a little better than the case with 4 smaller strap-ons.

You have to also consider than the case with smaller strap-ons would be cheaper. This page gives the cost of a GSLV Mk. II middle stage as $4 million:

==============================================
GSLV-2
N2O4/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 42,900/5,400 kg. Thrust 725.02 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 295 seconds.
Cost $ : 4.000 million.

AKA: Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle.
Status: Active.
Gross mass: 42,900 kg (94,500 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 5,400 kg (11,900 lb).
Height: 11.60 m (38.00 ft).
Diameter: 2.80 m (9.10 ft).
Span: 2.80 m (9.10 ft).
Thrust: 725.02 kN (162,990 lbf).
Specific impulse: 295 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 200 s.
Burn time: 149 s.
Number: 4 .
=============================================

This stage is not the same as the small booster strap-on but it's about the same size and construction so likely would be similar cost. This would amount to $16 million for the four small strap-ons. It's unlikely two large core stages used as side boosters would only cost $8 million each.

Bob Clark

[Edited post with corrections.]

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby SaiK » 23 Jan 2015 05:41


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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby disha » 23 Jan 2015 22:54

SaiK, the above is more of a PR video from NASA on an earth observation satellite with a payload which specifically monitors soil moisture. I do not think ISRO IRS have such specific payloads.

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby disha » 23 Jan 2015 23:26

RGClark wrote: Aack!! Sorry, I input the wrong value for the thrust there. I input the thrust for a single Vikas engine listed for the core as 766 kN since that was how it was listed in the specifications for the core on the page for the GSLV Mk. III. However, the core has two Vikas engines, so the thrust for the core should be entered as 1,532 kN. Entering in the correct values I got 9,300 kg as the payload, a little better than the case with 4 smaller strap-ons.

You have to also consider than the case with smaller strap-ons would be cheaper. This page gives the cost of a GSLV Mk. II middle stage as $4 million:

This stage is not the same as the small booster strap-on but it's about the same size and construction so likely would be similar cost. This would amount to $16 million for the four small strap-ons. It's unlikely two large core stages used as side boosters would only cost $8 million each.

Bob Clark



Thanks for the new numbers., I realized that there must have been a mistake made - it happens. The new numbers are inline with my own estimates of @8-10 Kg to LEO.

Coming to cost:

If the small booster strapon is $4 million., why cannot the large core be <=8 million? However discussion on raw cost will be a digression., since instead of small booster strapon - using the liquid core as side boosters will simplify the assembly line thus increasing reliability and turnover.

Coming back to safety:

We are discussing the liquid engines as side boosters to get a "human rated" vehicle. I do not subscribe to that idea. Looking at the shuttle's programs, only time the solid boosters failed was during the challenger disaster and that was again a failure of an O-ring seal where environmental temperature extremes were overlooked. The columbia disaster was a design issue.

So a statement that solid booster rockets increase risk for human spaceflight might have been true 40-50 years back but does not hold much weight nowadays.

Solid boosters are cheap, reliable and provide @70-80% of thrust requirement!! However a reusable solid booster is not easy and to reduce space costs further, there is a need for re-useable engines. Just like our cars, we do not drive it around destroying our engines - we reuse them daily by just re-filling the tank. Makes the cars cheaper.

===

Whichever space agency (ISRO or NASA or private) cracks the above will have a real winner on hand. However that is still a generation away (some 25 years from now)., looking at SpaceX or Boeing - both have capsule design which harkens back to 1970s (only bigger and better) and ISRO is also currently on the same path. NASA really missed the boat by ignoring Dream Chaser. Maybe it is already betting on Boeings X-37).

It is ISRO's TSTO and RLV which is going to be revolutionary and it will be truly remarkable for ISRO/India to achieve that!

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby Vamsee » 23 Jan 2015 23:35

Going to space is not a big deal. Even sounding rockets can do it & many single stages can do it. But going to orbit is bloody difficult. It is the horizontal velocity requirement that makes easy access to space very difficult. We need a new architecture if we want to get to a stage like routine airline-like operations. Either something on earth or something in space should play the role of a "stage" so that actual rocket can do a SSTO & be re-usable.

It is truly worthwhile goal & I hope some nation would be able to build a L-5 city or Colonies on Moon/Mars etc

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby brar_w » 24 Jan 2015 12:15

Whichever space agency (ISRO or NASA or private) cracks the above will have a real winner on hand. However that is still a generation away (some 25 years from now)., looking at SpaceX or Boeing - both have capsule design which harkens back to 1970s (only bigger and better) and ISRO is also currently on the same path. NASA really missed the boat by ignoring Dream Chaser. Maybe it is already betting on Boeings X-37)


I am sure SN would continue to refine the Dream Chaser and would continue to offer that solution at a later date. meanwhile, there is the X-37, and the DARPA X-1. Not the same but still.

http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Release ... 07/15.aspx

http://www.space.com/26904-xs1-military ... umman.html

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby member_28945 » 24 Jan 2015 16:06

disha wrote:...
===
Whichever space agency (ISRO or NASA or private) cracks the above will have a real winner on hand. However that is still a generation away (some 25 years from now)., looking at SpaceX or Boeing - both have capsule design which harkens back to 1970s (only bigger and better) and ISRO is also currently on the same path. NASA really missed the boat by ignoring Dream Chaser. Maybe it is already betting on Boeings X-37).
It is ISRO's TSTO and RLV which is going to be revolutionary and it will be truly remarkable for ISRO/India to achieve that!



Judging by SpaceX's near success with the landing of the Falcon 9 I would say we are closer than 25 years to reusability.

Bob Clark

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby member_28108 » 24 Jan 2015 19:16

RGClark wrote:
disha wrote:...
===
Whichever space agency (ISRO or NASA or private) cracks the above will have a real winner on hand. However that is still a generation away (some 25 years from now)., looking at SpaceX or Boeing - both have capsule design which harkens back to 1970s (only bigger and better) and ISRO is also currently on the same path. NASA really missed the boat by ignoring Dream Chaser. Maybe it is already betting on Boeings X-37).
It is ISRO's TSTO and RLV which is going to be revolutionary and it will be truly remarkable for ISRO/India to achieve that!



Judging by SpaceX's near success with the landing of the Falcon 9 I would say we are closer than 25 years to reusability.

Bob Clark


that success may be as far as retrieval is concerned but for true profitability with reusable systems the weight of the reusable structures should be 2 % - So far we have reached 10 % so we are still far away.

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby arun » 27 Jan 2015 20:29

Indian Team Wins $1 Million Google Lunar Xprize :

NDTV

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby Uttam » 27 Jan 2015 20:36

arun wrote:Indian Team Wins $1 Million Google Lunar Xprize :

NDTV


Congratulations to Team Indus. This is a great achievement, now book me a flat on the far side of moon :D
http://www.teamindus.in/

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby MN Kumar » 28 Jan 2015 10:03

There is a Airbus sponsored initiative on small satellite design and build at IISc.
http://pravega.org/w_cansat.php

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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby sooraj » 08 Feb 2015 17:23


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Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby Vipul » 19 Feb 2015 18:14

New chairman AS Kiran Kumar and PM Narendra Modi's focus on science to catapult ISRO into its next growth orbit.

AS Kiran Kumar, the new chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has spent all his working life at the Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad. For decades this laboratory performed away from public view, quietly developing instruments and technologies for India's satellites. Kumar kept a similarly low profile, although he was involved in several key missions. Now both Kumar and his lab are moving to the centre stage, and not just by virtue of him becoming the chairman.

Within ISRO, Kumar has been known to be a quiet but tenacious engineer, with a deep technical understanding of satellites and their applications. Over the past few decades, he had been closely involved in developing several satellite applications. He had worked on the development of payloads of satellite missions right from Bhaskara in 1979 to the Mars Orbiter Mission last year.

Kumar had closely monitored the journey of the orbiter from the earth to Mars, taking crucial technical decisions till the last minute. Now, as the chairman of ISRO, he has a pre-eminent task: expand the applications of space technology along with the technology itself.

In the past few months, PM Modi has been pushing for increased applications of science and technology in the country, and space technology in particular. As the applications increase, the unstated goal is to expand the space programme itself, from building satellites to launch vehicles and specific missions beyond the earth. At some point, it would also mean expanding the domestic manufacturing base, mainly in the private industry, and the commercial ambitions of ISRO through its business arm Antrix. Says Kumar: "As many as 18 teams are working in ISRO with the ministries to find new applications for space technology."

These teams, along with the ministries, will soon come up with a plan to increase the utilisation of space technology in all ministries. Meanwhile, ISRO has its own full calendar with new projects, some of them expanding the potential use of space technology significantly. It also involves new heavy launch vehicles, cryogenic and semi-cryogenic engines, a moon and a solar mission and, if there is enough government support, human space missions as well. Also going on under the radar are programmes like air breathing and reusable launch vehicles. It is a formidable turnaround for an organisation that was, just two years ago, still not had a fully successful geostationary launch vehicle.

In March, ISRO will have the first flight of this year: a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will put in orbit IRNSS 1-D, the fourth navigation satellite that is part of a constellation of seven satellites supposed to provide indigenous capability in this strategic area.

Later this year, it will put the country's first astronomy satellite (Astrosat) in orbit, providing a broad spectrum of instruments for the astronomy community. In between, PSLV will also have a commercial launch, and the Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark II go up one more time, putting GSAT-6 into orbit. After that, all eyes will be on GSLV Mark III and the indigenous cryogenic engine.

The GSLV Mark III has already had a sub-orbital flight last year. On December 18, it lifted off with a dummy cryogenic upper stage and a crew module as a payload. The crew module was ejected at an altitude of 126 km, after which it descended through the atmosphere and landed in the Indian Ocean safely.

The next flight of GSLV Mark III, currently scheduled for December 2016, is to go the full distance and put a four-tonne satellite into geostationary orbit. The first two stages of the vehicle are ready, but the upper stage has to wait for the cryogenic stage that is now being developed at the Liquid Propulsions Systems Centre near Thiruvananthapuram.

There is a marked difference between the two versions of GSLVs. Its Mark II version could put only a 2.5-tonne satellite into geostationary orbit while Mark III can lift four-tonne satellites. The rockets differ in their design too. Mark II has three stages: a solid first with four liquid strap-ons, a liquid second stage, and a cryogenic third. Mark III has two stages, supplemented with two powerful solid motors.

GSLV Mark I, now retired, flew with Russian cryogenic engines. GSLV Mark II had indigenous cryogenic engines, but they were re-engineered from the Russian design. GSLV Mark III has larger and completely indigenous cryogenic engines in the upper stage. "It is a completely new vehicle," says S Somanath, project director of GSLV Mark III.

The Russian cryogenic engines were small and hence not very powerful: in technical parlance, they had a thrust of eight to nine tonnes. This was all right for a small vehicle, but not for a heavy lifter like GSLV Mark III. To put a four-tonne satellite into orbit, the cryogenic engine has to be nearly twice as powerful. The new engine being developed will have a thrust of nearly 20 tonnes, which will be enough to put a large satellite into orbit when combined with powerful lower stages.

The new engine will bring with it some advantages and disadvantages as well. The Russian engines used what is called the staged combustion cycle; burn a bit of the fuel in a pre-burner, and then bring the hot gas into the main chamber to complete the combustion. This results in a highly efficient engine but complicated plumbing and control systems. It also makes the engine components difficult to test separately. The engine under development uses a gas generator cycle, where some fuel is burned and then used to operate the pumps. Since the hot gases in the pre-burner are not injected into the main combustion chamber, the efficiency of the engine goes down marginally but the engine becomes simple and light.

The gas-generator engine is also loosely coupled, which means the parts can be developed and tested independently before being assembled and tested again as a whole. "All the subsystem tests of the engine are done," says K Sivan, LPSC director. "Two levels of integration are also over, and real engine tests are going on now." ISRO needs to test three engines over two years and prepare the upper stage to go in the flight. GSLV Mark III development involved the creation of substantial facilities with an investment of at least `1,000 crore. Along the way, ISRO has also designed a vehicle that can do more than just put satellites into orbit.

"It is a future human-rated vehicle," says Somanath. Actual use in a human flight will require additional tests. To begin with, the vehicle has fewer stages than its predecessor, thereby making it simpler. The control algorithms of GSLV Mark III are different, and it has new electrical controls as well that work in tandem. The rocket has the ability to detect failures and isolate them as well, an important requirement for human-rated vehicles. The actuator — a motor — has multiple power sources, and only two are required for them to work. Sensors have triple redundancy. The vehicle commands have some redundancy too. Each vehicle unit has a destruction system. And so on.

Meanwhile, ISRO has started forming concepts to develop a rocket that can put a 10-tonne satellite into orbit. This vehicle would require powerful engines. One candidate is the semi-cryogenic engine, using kerosene and liquid oxygen, whose design is now over. The hardware is being built and facilities being created. When ready, it will be an efficient lower stage with a thrust of 200 tonnes and controllable in flight, good enough to go into the lower stages of a large rocket. ISRO's plans are to use it in the heavy lifter and the reusable launch vehicle.

While future engines and launch vehicles get ready, its old workhorse PSLV will launch a series of novel satellites in orbit. The next PSLV flight — in March — will put the fourth satellite of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) into orbit. Three more such satellites are to follow IRNSS 1D, thus completing a network with considerable strategic value to the country. PSLV will have a commercial launch too this year, with foreign satellites, and another one to put the Astrosat into orbit roughly over the equator. This satellite will orbit at an altitude of 650 km for five years, thereby augmenting domestic space engineering capability for scientific research.

Astrosat, has been in the works for over a decade. The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) developed three of its five payloads, some of which were quite complicated to build. One instrument, the soft X-ray telescope, took 11 years to build. TIFR has now completed building all the instruments and handed them over to ISRO, which has begun the integration at Bangalore. It will be the world's only multiwave astronomy satellite, another one from NASA having ended its life some time ago.

Astrosat has multiple imaging methods: ultraviolet, soft X-ray and hard X-rays. "It is a general purpose satellite that can be used for many different studies," says KP Singh, professor at TIFR, who was closely involved in its development. Astronomers like Singh will use it for a variety of research. It will look at black holes in the galaxy and beyond. It can look at clusters of galaxies not discovered so far. It can look at stars and exclude those that cannot have planets with life. Astronomers can propose an experiment that will be examined by a team; data from the experiment will be open after about 18 months.

All the five payloads of the Astrosat are now in the clean room and are being assembled. The full satellite will be ready in one month, and tested for another three months. It will be ready for launch by July, and could go up by August. "Everybody in ISRO and the astronomy community is looking forward to the Astrosat," says SK Shivkumar, director of ISRO Satellite Centre in Bengaluru. It will involve expansion of space applications for ISRO.

So will be the next lunar mission, for which ISRO is developing a rover, a lander and an orbiter. Unlike the previous mission, Chandrayaan-2 cannot be launched by the PSLV. This is because it has a payload supposed to be 2.25 tonne, well outside the capabilities of PSLV-XL. Chandrayaan-1 had a weight of 1.3 tonne. GSLV is supposed to have a few more flights before Chandrayaan-2, and would probably be looked at as a reliable vehicle.

Chandrayaan-2 was planned as a joint project between India and Russia, with Russia developing the moon lander, but the Russians withdrew citing technical reasons. ISRO then decided to develop the rover on its own. The spacecraft is being designed and a six-wheeled rover has been designed already. "It has shaped well," says Shivkumar. ISRO has had a review recently. The launch is expected to happen sometime in July 2018.

After that, apart from building routine satellites, ISRO has another major mission in mind: Aditya 1, or a satellite to look at the sun. This is to be located in between the earth and the sun, at a point called Lagrangian Point, where it is supposed to remain for all of its life. There are technical issues, not th least of which is the stability of the satellite at the Lagrangian Point. Understanding how the satellite will behave there is a tough problem. Considering the current ambitions of ISRO, even tougher problems would follow in future.
Star Power
ISRO has its hands full with new projects, some of which pushing up the potential use of space technology significantly. These include new heavy launch vehicles, cryogenic and semi-cryogenic engines, a moon and a solar mission and, if there is enough government support, human space missions as well. Plus, you have air-breathing and reusable launch vehicles. And the turnaround seems to be complete.

Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System

A set of seven navigation satellites that will be controlled by the government. The PSLV has been launching three of them through last year, and four more need to be launched in the first half of this year for the constellation to be complete. It will give India a full network of global positioning satellites for both civilian and military use. New chairman AS Kiran Kumar and PM Narendra Modi's focus on science to catapult ISRO into its next growth orbit Astrosat

To be launched later this year, the Astrosat will satisfy a long-standing need among India's astronomy community. The onboard equipment has mostly been built at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) with ISRO chipping in with some parts. It is a general purpose astronomy satellite capable of investigating a wide range of astronomical phenomena. New chairman AS Kiran Kumar and PM Narendra Modi's focus on science to catapult ISRO into its next growth orbit GSLV Mark III

One of ISRO's most challenging tasks is to develop a vehicle capable of launching 4-tonne satellites into geostationary orbit. The current GSLV can go up to 2.2 tonnes. GSLV Mark III, which has completed one flight with a dummy upper stage, has to wait for another two years for the full cryogenic stage to be developed. It is also to be developed as a human-rated vehicle later. New chairman AS Kiran Kumar and PM Narendra Modi's focus on science to catapult ISRO into its next growth orbit Indigenous cryogenic engines

India had built its own cryogenic engine based on a Russian design, but neither the Indian nor the Russian engines have enough thrust to put a 4-tonne satellite into orbit. The completely indigenous cryogenic engine, now under development, will have three times the thrust and can put 4 tonnes satellites into orbit. It is being tested, and complete delivery will take 2 more years. New chairman AS Kiran Kumar and PM Narendra Modi's focus on science to catapult ISRO into its next growth orbit Chandrayaan II

After the success of the moon orbiter (Chandrayaan I), ISRO is now developing a moon rover (Chandrayaan II). It has two parts; the rover and the orbiter. The rover will land softly and explore lunar soil, while the orbiter will take this data and relay it to the earth. Chandrayan II is not likely to have payloads from other countries. The launch time will be some time around two years from now.

What was accomplished in the past three years:

First fully successful GSLV flown in January 2014

First successful flight test of indigenous cryogenic engine, also in Jan 2014

Mars mission conceived and executed to perfection, from Nov 2013 to Sept 2014

Successful sub-orbital flight of GSLV Mark III, along with the safe recovery of crew module

Kiran Kumar

What is expected in the next three years :

Completion of navigation satellite system launches this year

Development and launch of Astrosat, a unique general purpose astronomy satellite, also this year

Development of new and indigenous cryogenic engine, by next year-end

Antrix Corporation: A Sharp Shooter

At first sight, Antrix Corporation hardly looks like an entity with a business in excess of Rs 1,000 crore. It has a small office, a smaller set of staff and a bunch of contracts that could keep a larger company busy round the clock. It had revenues of Rs 1,608 crore last year, and its aim is to increase it three times in the next five years. All it needs to achieve this aim is to make a few adjustments in its operation.

And yet it is wrong to look at Antrix through the lens of a private enterprise. Its aim is not to build a profitable and full-fledged business but to market ISRO's spare capacity. New chairman AS Kiran Kumar and PM Narendra Modi's focus on science to catapult ISRO into its next growth orbit This amounts to one dedicated PSLV launch, a few more launches on piggyback, leasing of transponders and sale of remote sensing data. It is now looking at another opportunity: satellite manufacturing.

Its bread and butter, leasing of transponders, has limitations to growth. ISRO may not always have spare capacity of transponders, especially if the applications within the government grow significantly. Satellite manufacturing is a good business to be in, as there is an enormous need around the world to build new kinds of satellites. Sale of remote sensing data can also expand, as the potential uses are significantly large.

The use of space technology is going through an expansion around the world. The global satellite industry alone is around $200 billion, with the field active with venture capital investments and technology start-ups. More than 1,000 satellites already orbit the earth. More and more are being launched, many of them so tiny that they can fit in the palm of your hand. The industry is also remarkably innovative. From the outside, competition seems intense.

Consider SpaceX, the company floated by Elon Musk. Currently it is offering some of the cheapest launches in the world, undercutting everybody. Antrix is not affected as SpaceX is not in the PSLV space, but ISRO will be ready with the GSLV and compete head to head with SpaceX at some point.

Startups are coming with regularity in remote sensing, or earth observation as it known these days. SkyBox, the company Google acquired and whose satellite ISRO itself is going to launch, is an innovative earth observation company, with the capacity to provide images of any point that is not more than a few hours old at any time.

Urthecast, a Canadian startup with some clever technologies, is another challenger. Many other established players operate in earth observation, and yet the market does not look crowded. "I do not like the word competition in earth observation," says VS Hedge, managing director of Antrix. "The potential is so large that I would use the world complement."

Over the years, Antrix plans to use ISRO's earth observation system to augment its revenues. In the long run, Antrix launch services expansion is limited by domestic priorities and lack of good manufacturing facilities outside ISRO. Would India set up a flourishing private space manufacturing industry? Europe's consortium that launches Arianne rockets is a good example to follow.

VinodTK
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Joined: 18 Jun 2000 11:31

Re: Indian Space Programme Discussion

Postby VinodTK » 26 Feb 2015 04:18

India’s own GPS soon
Scientists are eagerly awaiting the March 9 launch of IRNSS-1D, the fourth Indian regional navigation satellite.

The Rs. 1,400-crore-plus IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System) has been called ‘India’s own GPS.’ It can do all that we do with GPS, a U.S. military system, but apparently much better and at a local level.

This satellite will complete more than half of the ambitious ‘Indian GPS’ ring over the subcontinent and allow ISRO’s sat-nav team to prove its usefulness in location-based applications.

Four satellites out of the constellation of seven are said to be the minimum the scientists need to check out signals and accuracy.

S.K. Shivakumar, Director of ISRO Satellite Centre in Bengaluru, told The Hindu that IRNSS-1D would finetune the details being provided by its earlier three siblings. The next three navigation satellites, he said, would take this to the targeted precision levels and make it easy to pinpoint required positions for many users.

IRNSS-1D is slated to be put on the PSLV launcher on February 28 at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. The first one, IRNSS-1A, was launched in July 2013.

A.S. Ganeshan, ISRO’s SatNav Programme Director at ISAC, said, “This is a significant milestone. For the first time we will be able to demonstrate or give proof of concept of the regional navigation system.”


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