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Thursday, November 29, 2018

ISRO's PSLV-C43 puts HysIS and 30 customer satellites into orbit on 29th November, 2018

At exactly 9:57:30 am ( IST ) on Thursday, the 29th November, 2018  the ISRO's reliable workhorse PSLV rocket soared into the skies from Sriharikota's first launch pad carrying the India's first hyperspectral imaging satellite ( HysIS), an advanced earth observation satellite and  30 foreign satellites.  During the 112 minute long mission, the PSLV-C43 first delivered India's primary satellite into the polar sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 630 Km 17 minutes and 19 seconds after the takeoff and then  delivered the other 30 satellites after restarting the fourth stage engines twice.  The last of the 30 satellites was injected into its designated orbit after 1 hour 49 minutes after lift off.

HysIS is an earth observation satellite built around ISRO’s Mini Satellite-2 (IMS-2) bus weighing about 380kg. The mission life of the satellite is five years.

The 30 commercial satellites, including one micro and 29 nano satellites, are from eight countries. Of the total 30 satellites whose combined weight is 261.5 kg, 23 are from the US.

For more details about the Mission,  please click here.. 

Here is a video of the launch....

Sunday, November 18, 2018

ISRO's GSLV-Mk3 puts GSAT-29 satellite into orbit on 14th November, 2018

The second orbital test flight of India's heaviest launcher GSLV Mk3 took off on wednesday, 14th November, 2018 hoisting a high throughput communications satellite into orbit to connect the country's remote population and clearing the way for a robotic lunar lander to use the rocket in January.   

The GSLV-Mk3-D2 rocket  which is nearly 43.5 meters high lifted off from the Second Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Center at exactly 11:38 GMT which is 05:08 PM local time at the India's space port.

The payload of GSLV Mk3 D2 is a very advanced high-throughout satellite GSAT-29 which is a multi-beam communications satellite with a lift off mass of 3.4 tonnes.  The payloads of this satellite caters to the communications requirements of users from remote areas of India. 

For more details please click here.

Here is  a video of the launch..

Friday, September 28, 2018

ISRO's PSLV succesfully puts two UK earth observation satellites into orbit on 16th Sept 2018

ISRO's work horse, PSLV in its 44th flight has put two UK earth observation satellites into the orbit on 16th September, 2018.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C42) of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched two satellites -- NovaSAR and S1-4 -- from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota here on sunday, 16th September, 2018.
The PSLV-C42 lifted off from the First Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Center,  at 10.08 pm (IST). Both satellites were injected into the Sun Synchronous Orbit, about 17 minutes later, at an altitude of 583 km.
Both of these satellites belong o UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), which has a contract with Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of ISRO.
The NovaSAR is an S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and has an Automatic Identification Receiver payload.  The satellite is intended for applications which include forestry mapping, land use and ice cover monitoring, flood and disaster monitoring and maritime missions. It will be operated from SSTL’s Spacecraft Operations Centre in Guildford, UK.
S1-4 is a high resolution earth observation satellite meant for surveying resources, environment monitoring, urban management and disaster monitoring.
This was the 44th flight of PSLV and the 12th flight of the Core Alone version of the vehicle. Core Alone is its lightest version without the six strap-on motors. It is used for launching smaller payloads.
For more details,  please click here..
Here is a video of the launch..

Saturday, April 14, 2018

ISRO successfully launches IRNSS-1I Navigation Satellite on 12th April, 2018

In the 43rd flight of PSLV,  ISRO's PSLV-C41 has successfully launched the 1425 Kg IRNSS-1I Navigation Satellite on 12th April, 2018 from Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota.  The launch took place at 04:04 hrs IST

The vehicle lifted off from the first launch pad as planned and after a flight time of 19 minutes, the vehicle achieved a GTO orbit with perigee of 281.5 Km and apogee of 20,730 Km inclined at an angle of 19.2 degrees to the equator after which the IRNSS-1I satellite was separated from PSLV.

The IRNSS-1I is expected to replace IRNSS-1A, the first of the seven navigation satellites, that was rendered ineffective after its three rubidium atomic clocks failed..  The seven satellites are a part of the NavIC navigation satellite constellation.

The video of the launch is shown below.


India's GSLV-F08 successfully injects Communication Satellite GSAT-6A into orbit on 29th March, 2018

ISRO successfully placed a communication satellite GSAT-6A into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. The satellite was carried  onboard the GSLV-F08 launch vehicle from Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota on Thursday,  March 29th, 2018 at 16:56 hrs IST

The GSLV-F08 is the 12th flight of GSLV launch vehicle and sixth flight with indigenous cryogenic stage.  The launch took place from the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Center

The GSAT-6A is a communication satellite that will complement the GSAT-6 which is already in orbit  The diameter of the antenna of this satellite is 6 meters - it can be unfurled and opened like an umbrella once it reaches the prescriibed orbit and improve India's communication capabilities.

The GSAT-6A is a high power S-band communication satellite and its mission life is about 10 years.

Friday, March 2, 2018

China's Space Lab may fall to Earth in March, 2018

Tiangong-1 was the first space lab built by China and launched in late September, 2011 to help the nation master the technologies needed to construct and operate a crewed space station. China aims to have such a station up by 2020.

The first Chinese orbital docking occurred between Tiangong-1 and an unpiloted Shenzhou spacecraft on 2nd Nov, 2011.  Two crewed missions later visited Tiangong-1. Shenzhou9 and Shenzhou 10 which launched in June 2012 and June 2013.  

The European Space Agency has issued a new re-entry forecast for China's Tiangong-1 Space Lab.   Th space lab weighing 8.5 tons is now expected to fall into Earth's atmosphere between 24th March, 2018 and 19th April, 2018.  The ESA officials say it is a rough estimate.    Re-entry will take place anywhere between 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south ( eg. Spain, France, Portugal, Greece etc) latitude. Areas outside these latitudes can be excluded.  The precise location and time of fall cannot be predicted by ESA..

What is a Blue Moon?

We all know that "Blue Moon" has nothing to do with the color of the Moon.  A "Blue Moon" is some infrequent phenomenon which involves the appearance of an additional full moon within a given period.  The period is something like two full moons appearing within a month's time.  

Normally there is a gap of 29.5 days between two full moons so it is very unusual for two ful moons to fit into a 3o or 31 day-long month ( means February will never have  a blue moon).  So a blue moon is a second full moon appearing within a single calendar month. This is the meaning of a blue moon.  So a blue moon does not have associate blue color but a blue moon is a full moon which appears within the same calendar.

The next monthly Blue Moon will be on 31st March, 2018.  The previous one was the Super Blue Moon on 31st January, 2018.  

Origin of the term "Blue Moon".

The phrase "Once in a blue moon" has been around for more than 450 years according to Philip Hiscock, a folklorist at the Memorial University of NewFoundland.  In a 2012 article in Sky&Telescope magazine, he explained that the earliest use of the term was much like saying the moon is made of green cheese - It indicated some thing absurd.  "He would argue that the moon is blue" was similar to saying "He would argue that black is white".