In a series of announcements, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) laid down the roadmap of its future missions. The missions include a manned mission to the moon, a research mission to Sun, Venus as well as a proposed Space Station. ISRO plans to further explore and understand the mysteries of the universe.
ISRO has come a long way since launching its first satellite in 1975. They successfully completed their maiden interplanetary Mars Orbiter Mission in 2014 with approximately one-tenth of the budget of NASA’s Maven Mars Probe and gained worldwide recognition for the amazing feat.
Let’s take a look at ISRO’s upcoming space missions that you should keep an eye out for as ISRO and India’s space dreams gain momentum.
Also read: 7 ISRO achievements in the 21st century you must know
This mission is due on July 15. This is India’s first manned mission to the moon. Earlier Chandrayaan 1 discovered water molecules on the moon back in 2017. Chandrayaan 2 will continue to research the findings of Chandrayaan 1 and will soft-land on the South Pole side of the moon.
The South Pole side of the moon is largely shadowed as compared to the North Pole which provides a high probability of the presence of water. Also, the South Side of the moon has ‘Cold Trapped Craters’ which might contain fossilised records of early Solar System.
The Mission will include an Orbiter which will act as a communication link between Earth and the lander – Vikram as well as a six-wheeled rover- Pragyan. With the success of this mission, India will become the fourth country to soft-land on the moon.
Related: Chandrayaan 2 set to launch on July 15: 5 talking points
Aditya L1 Mission
This mission, which is an upgraded version of earlier mission Aditya 1 mission, is scheduled to launch between 2019-2020 time frame. The mission will be to study the outer layer of the Sun called Corona.
Corona has a temperature of million degrees which is much higher than the temperature of Sun’s disc which is around 6000K. This huge temperature variation is a mystery which this mission plans to unravel. The satellite will be placed on the L1 orbit which is 1.5 million km from the Earth. The mission contains seven payloads and will attempt to provide an overall understanding of various processes of the Sun.
This will be the first Indian human spaceflight mission scheduled for December 2021-January 2022. On December 28, 2018, the Union Cabinet approved the Gaganyaan Mission. A fund of INR 10,000 was also sanctioned. Indian Air force and ISRO had signed an MoU for the selection and training of 3 crew members.
The training of crews will be conducted at the Human Space Flight Centre.
The IAF has also begun to work for shortlisting 10 potential candidates including 3 women for astronaut training. The GSLV MK 3 will be used as a launcher. The mission will be under the leadership of R.Hutton.
Mangalyaan 1 had already established India as a pioneer in space exploration. Mangalyaan 2 is scheduled in 2022-2023. The announcement had been made by ISRO in 2014 and an Announcement of Opportunity for payloads was announced with 20th September 2016 as the last date.
The French Space Agency has signed a letter of intent to cooperate on this mission but no involvement has been announced till date. Indian Institue of Space and Technology is developing payloads for this mission.
Scheduled for 2025, ISRO intends to understand various surface and subsurface phenomenon, super-rotation of Venusian Atmosphere and its interaction with solar wind/radiation.
ISRO’s Astrosat mission was launched to study simultaneous multi-wavelength observations of various astronomical objects. Exposat will be a follow up on this mission. This mission will specifically study the polarisation of X Rays in the Universe which can be caused by a variety of factors such as Supernova Events, black holes as well as neutron stars. Understanding this phenomenon will significantly help ISRO in Designing spacecraft to help them save from the radiations.
Indian Space Station
The International Space Station will retire by 2030. The Indian space station will be small as compared to ISS and will weigh around 15- 20 tonnes with carrying capacity for 10 – 20 days. After the Chandrayaan mission, an Indian Space Station is the next logical step but also very cost extensive.
Space Station can also act as a stopover for future manned Mars missions. ISRO’s annual report has no mention of Space Station and currently, no deadline is set by ISRO in this regard.
Space is one of the most intriguing subjects and humans have been trying hard to create technology good enough to aide in its exploration. Although we aren’t there yet but with space missions such as the ones mentioned above, and more to come, India’s future in space looks bright.
Which one is your favourite? Which one are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comments down below.
Also read: Five ethical questions for how we choose to use the Moon