India has taken a giant leap in satellite launching.Astrosat, India’s first dedicated space observatory, was launched . It is aimed at studying celestial objects.
With it PSLV-C30, the launch vehicle is carrying six other co-passengers, one satellite each from Indonesia and Canada, and four nanosatellites from the US.
While ASTROSAT weighed 1,513 kg, the six foreign satellites (four from the US and one each from Indonesia and Canada) together weighed 118 kg.
For the third time, a PSLV rocket has launched seven satellites in a single mission. In 2008, ISRO had launched 10 satellites in one go, including India’s Cartosate-2A satellite. India crossed the half century milestone when its rocket injected the six foreign satellites successfully into their intended orbit.It is a great source of income for ISRO and India.
Astronat is not India’s ‘Hubble’
Astronat is not India’s ‘Hubble’. The Hubble owned and launched by the US in 1990 is 10 times heavier than the Astrosat and is said to cost $2.5 billion.While the Hubble space telescope is still working now, India’s ASTROSAT’s life span is five years.Astrosat is India’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory. This scientific satellite mission endeavours for a more detailed understanding of our universe.
Work it Will Do
Astrosat will observe the universe in optical, ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum whereas most other scientific satellites are capable of observing a narrow range of wavelength band.
The mission is also to detect new briefly bright X-ray sources in the sky and to perform a limited deep field survey of the universe in the ultraviolet region.
Astrosat scheduled for five years of flight carries four X-ray payloads, one UV telescope and a charge particle monitor.
The five payloads/instruments of ASTROSAT are selected to facilitate deeper insight into the various astrophysical processes occurring in the various types of astronomical objects constituting our universe, Isro said.
The payloads are developed by different institutions-domestic and foreign- on their own or collaborating with Isro.
Of the five payloads, the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) is jointly developed by Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bengaluru and Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) at Pune in collaboration with Canadian Space Agency and ISRO.
This instrument can observe the sky in the visible near ultraviolet and far ultraviolet regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The second payload Large Area X-ray Proportional Counter (LAXPC) is developed by Tata Institute for Fundamental Research TIFR), Mumbai and Raman Research Institute (RRI), Bengaluru.
The third payload Soft X-ray Telescope (SXT) is developed by TIFR in collaboration with the University of Leicester, UK and ISRO.
The fourth payload Cadmium Zinc Telluride Imager (CZTI) was developed by TIFR and IUCAA in collaboration with Isro.
And the fifth one Scanning Sky Monitor (SSM) was jointly developed by ISRO Satellite Centre at Bengaluru and IUCAA.
The Indonesian 76 kg LAPAN-A2 is a micro-satellite from the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space, meant for providing maritime surveillance using automatic identification system (AIS), supporting Indonesian radio amateur communities for disaster mitigation and carrying out earth surveillance using video and digital camera.
The 14 kg NLS-14 (Ev9) of Space Flight Laboratory, the University of Toronto Institute for Advanced Studies, is also a maritime monitoring Canadian nano satellite using the next generation AIS.
The remaining four LEMUR nano satellites from Spire Global Inc., San Francisco, US, are non-visual remote sensing satellites, focusing primarily on global maritime intelligence through vessel tracking via AIS and high-fidelity weather forecasting using GPS radio occultation technology, the ISRO said.
Apart from Isro, four other Indian institutions – Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics and Raman Research Institute are involved in payload development.
Two of the payloads are in collaboration with Canadian Space Agency and University of Leiscester.
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