May 26, 2010

India’s Spectacular Progress in Earth Observation and Space Research – Essay

Estimated Article Reading Time: 6 min.

India has an ambitious programmed of space research and earth observation. Indeed, India is among t he few great countries of the world which have the necessary scientific knowledge and equipment. Her first satellite ‘Aryabhata’ was launched from a Soviet Commodore a few years ago, and the second, also from a soviet commodore on June, 7, 1979. Its cameras failed to function soon after its launching. however, soon after may 16, 1980, when one of is cameras was activated, it again started sending pictures, and it sent over a hundred photographs of great value and significance.

The lunching of Rohini-I was of even greater significance. it was put into space on July 18, 1980 from Sriharikota. Near Madras, it went round the earth once in 90 minutes. it was the first Indian earth satellite to be launched from India into the exclusive five member space-club. Russia, china, France, U.S.A. and Japan are the other members of the club. Rohini-I satellite derives its name from the fourth of the 27 stars in Hindi almanac. Besides the musical quality of the name, the star has certain romantic and metaphysical connotations in as much as lord Krishna is said to have been born under it.

Another step forward in India’s conquest of outer space was taken when APPLE was launched on June, 19, 1981, from Koueon, in French Guyana by the European space agency’s Arian Rocket. APPLE (Arian passenger payload experiment) was fully designed by Indian scientists. Its technology was fully developed in India. This is a geo-stationary satellite. In other words, it revolves with the same speed as earth, and so seems motionless with reference to the earth. Scientists could successfully park it over Sumatra through one of its panels was out of order. it was a triumph of Indian science and technology.

APPLE is a communication satellite-communication satellite. Now India has its independent satellite-communication system. On 15th august, the Independence Day programmed was relayed to the various parts of the country through APPLE. Late prime minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s press conference in Australia during the conference of the common-wealth heads of states, was also televised to the nation by the APPLE. India can use it for broadcasting telecommunication, and other domestic communication purposes. INSAT series was another communication satellite launched by India. It may be recalled that the Indian national satellite system (in sat) was established in 1983 and it represented India’s first step towards ‘implementing operational space systems for identified national requirements’. In the first generation of INSAT-1 series, two satellites were successful and the other two failed INSAT-1B and INSAT-2 were complete success. INSAT-1A, first in the series, was launched in April 1982, but due to some deployment problems, it had to be abandoned. Similarly, INSAT-1B launched by the US shuttle challenger in august 1983, successfully completed its seven years life-span. INSAT-D was launched when the life-span of INSAT-2 had nearly ended.

The launching of Indian fourth indigenous communication satellite second generation INSATs have enhanced capabilities compared to the earlier ones. The INSAT’s providing telecommunication services, besides direct television broadcasting national networking of terrestrial transmitters and transmission of radio and television programmers’. They also provide observations of weather systems over the Indian Territory and adjoining land and the sea-areas.

The launching of the fifth and the last in the second generation INSAT series, INSAT-2E is scheduled for the first half of 1998.

A long stride forward in India’s space research programmed was taken when it was decided to sent out an Indian in outer space. Two young, healthy and smart Indians-Rakesh Sharma and Savish Mehrotra-with brilliant flying record were selected to undergo intensive training in the U.S.S.R. for the purpose. They were familiarized with every possible detail of their mission, and the difficulties they were likely to face in outer space. They also took logic exercises, the purpose being to see if you could be help in outer space. rakesh sharama was finally selected to be the first Indian cosmonauts. it was a perfect take off from the Russian space research centre in Siberia. Soyuz T-II carrying Rakesh Sharma and Russian cosmonauts gently docked with the mother ship Saiyat 7 on 4th April 1984.rakesh Sharma took photographs of the Indian sub-continent, and conducted many valuable experiments. it was all a grand success, and the nation was thrilled. India thus entered the space age. Many more multipurpose satellites have been sent into outer space since then.

Indian space research organizing (ISRO) had completed four launched of the satellite launch vehicle-3 (SLV-3), four of an augmented satellite launch vehicles (ASLV) AND THE FIRST launch of slv-3 attempted on august 10, 1979 misfired as experimental satellite launch vehicle settled in the seabed of Bay of Bengal. The second successful experimental flight of SLV-3 on July 18, 1980 enabled India join the prestigious club of countries having their own satellite launchers.

The success of the second launcher made ISRO take up developmental flights of SLV-3 series. The first one, SLV-3 DI carrying Rohini satellite (RS-DI) was launched on May 31, 1981. But this also proved a failure due to low altitude problems. Three years later on April 17, 1983 SLV’s second developmental flight proved to be a success. after this success ISRO took up its second generation launch series but ASLV-DI flight that took place on march 24, 1987 and the next ASLV-D2 flight attempted on July 13, 1988 proved to be a failure. However, undeterred by those two failures, ISRO went ahead with the third development ASLV on May 20, 1992 which successfully placed the SCROSS satellite in low earth orbit.

With a lone success of ASLV series ISRO went ahead to test its third generation vehicle PSLV. On Sept. 20, 1993 PSLV-D1 was tried, but it lasted only 300 seconds in space after liftoff. After this failure ISRO returned back to the ASLV and successfully placed the RS-D4 satellite on May 4, 1994.

Thirteen months after the disastrous lift of the first development launcher PSLV, ISRO attempted the PSLV-D2 on Oct. 15, 1994. With its successful lift off from Sriharikota range India became the fifth nation in the world capable of launching 1000 kg satellite in its intended orbit. Again in 1996 the successful launching of PSLV-D3 from Sriharicota range placed its IRS-P3 satellite in the intended orbit. India took another decisive step in its ambitious space programmed when the pslv-c1 rocket successfully placed in 1200 kg operational remote sensing satellite, IRS-1D in orbit on 29 Sept 1997. This perfect launch has opened a glorious new chapter in the success story of Indian space effort because now India has entered into the exclusive group of nations possessing satellite launch capability.

Indian space development programmed has many peaceful uses to which Indian space programmer is firmly committed. After fully developing the capability to launch geo-synchronous satellites, India will now not only have vastly improved telecommunication capability, but also satellite monitoring capability which will be of a great value for our security. It is also capable of developing a variety of technologies in agricultural science, metallurgy, nuclear energy and remote sensing. India can also have exclusive satellite for its armed forces to maintain complete security.

This programmed can also assist in augmenting the national security measures and if similar threat exists at any stage from across the borders, this technology can also be used in instantly developing even inter-continental Balletic Missiles. However, at present, India has no plans to use space research for war purposes.

Submitted to RB by Aatish Palekar