As Chandrayaan-3, put into orbit on July 14, moves closer to the lunar surface, hopes of a spectacular success of ISRO’s ambitious mission are on the rise. The clockwork precision exhibited so far has now put the spotlight on a number of other ambitious projects that are in the pipeline at ISRO.
Some of these projects include a planned visit to the sun, putting humans in space and to start a space tourism industry by the year 2030.
Here follows a look at some of the critical details of some of ISRO’s key upcoming plans.
This is set to be India’s first space-based mission to study the Sun, according to ISRO’s website. On August 26, the launch date, a satellite shall be placed in a halo orbit around the Lagrange point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system. This point is about 1.5 million km from the Earth.
The satellite placed at that point will have the advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation/eclipses, ISRO says.
According to a ToI report, the mission will cost Rs 370 crore.
Aditya L1 is expected to provide key information on coronal heating, coronal mass ejection, pre-flare and flare activities and their characteristics, dynamics of space weather, propagation of particle and fields, etc, among other things.
A collaboration between ISRO and NASA, the NISAR mission is scheduled for January 2024. NISAR is a low-earth orbit observatory mission, which will map the earth once every 12 days.
The mission will provide data for “understanding changes in Earth’s ecosystems, ice mass, vegetation biomass, sea level rise, ground water and natural hazards including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and landslides.”
The total project cost is estimated at $1.5 billion.
Spadex is the shortened form of space docking experiment. This mission involves a twin spacecraft system that aims to strengthen technologies for “orbital rendezvous, docking, formation flying, with scope of applications in human spaceflight, in-space satellite servicing and other proximity operations.”The mission cost is projected at Rs 124.47 crore. The launch is scheduled for the third quarter of 2024.
Mangalyaan 2, also called the Mars Orbiter Mission 2, will be an inter-planetary mission by ISRO with a planned launch date in 2024.
As per ISRO documents, the mission will carry “a hyperspectral camera, a high resolution panchromatic camera and a radar to understand early Martian crust, recent basalts and boulder falls.”
There are currently plans to follow Mangalyaan 2 by another mission, which includes a plan for soft landing on Mars in 2030.
Gaganyaan 1 & 2
Gaganyaan, India’s own crewed orbital spacecraft, envisages “demonstration of human spaceflight capability by launching crew of 3 members to an orbit of 400 km for a 3 days mission and bring them back safely to earth, by landing in Indian sea waters.”
The project is a collaboration between ISRO and HAL. Gaganyaan is the basic foundation on which India’s human spaceflight programme is being planned.
Gaganyaan 3 would be India’s first human space mission. This mission is scheduled for a 2024 launch.
Shukrayaan 1, with a projected launch date in end-2024, is the ISRO’s interplanetary mission to Venus.
India space tourism
ISRO says that India’s space tourism journey is on track, and that by 2030, one can embark on space tourism by the year 2030. The expected cost of a ticket for such a journey would be Rs 6 crore.