Space Missions in News UPSC


  1. The Aryabhata spacecraft, named after the famous Indian astronomer, was India’s first satellite; it was completely designed and fabricated in India and launched by a Soviet Kosmos-3M rocket from Kapustin Yar on April 19, 1975. It was launched on 19 April 1975 from Kapustin Yar, a Soviet rocket launch and development site in Astrakhan Oblast using a Kosmos-3M launch vehicle. It was built by the ISRO, and launched by the Soviet Union as a part of the Soviet Interkosmos programme which provided access to space for friendly states.
  2. Bhaskara-I: The First Experimental Remote Sensing Satellite built in India. The onboard TV camera imageries were used in the field of Hydrology and Forestry. Rich scientific data sent by SAMIR was used for oceanographic studies.
  3. Rohini Satellite RS-1: RS-1 was a 35 kg experimental spin stabilized satellite designed with a power handling capability of 16W. All the fourth stage parameters of SLV-3 were successfully telemetered to the ground stations by RS-1 during the launch phase. The satellite had an orbital life of 9 months. The satellite carried Digital sun sensor, Magnetometer and temperature sensors. The structure was made of Aluminium Alloy.
  4. Rohini Satellite RS-D1: The launch was a partial success as the satellite did not reach the intended height and thus it stayed in orbit for only 9 days. The satellite carried a solid-state camera using linear array of detectors for remote sensing applications.
  5. The Ariane Passenger Payload Experiment (APPLE) was ISRO’s first indigenous, experimental communication satellite. It was launched into GTO (Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit) by the third development flight of ESA’a Ariane vehicle from Kourou on June 19, 1981. It was boosted into Geo-synchronous Orbit (GEO) by apogee motor of ISRO, derived from fourth stage motor of SLV-3. It was designed and built in just two years with limited infrastructure in industrial sheds. It gave ISRO valuable hands-on experience in designing and developing three-axis stabilized geostationary communication satellites as well as in orbit raising manoeuvres, in orbit deployment of appendages, station keeping, etc.
  6. INSAT1A: INSAT-1Awas an Indian communications satellite which formed part of the Indian National Satellite System. Launched in 1982, it was operated in geostationary orbit.
    • INSAT-3D is an advanced weather satellite of India configured with improved Imaging System and Atmospheric Sounder. INSAT-3D is designed for enhanced meteorological observations, monitoring of land and ocean surfaces, generating vertical profile of the atmosphere in terms of temperature and humidity for weather forecasting and disaster warning. The payloads of INSAT-3D provide continuity and further augment the capability to provide various meteorological as well as search and rescue services.
    • INSAT-3DR similar to INSAT-3D, is an advanced meteorological satellite of India configured with an imaging System and an Atmospheric Sounder. And, like its predecessor INSAT-3D, INSAT-3DR carries a Data Relay Transponder as well as a Search and Rescue Transponder. Thus, INSAT-3DR will provide service continuity to earlier meteorological missions of ISRO and further augment the capability to provide various meteorological as well as search and rescue services. The propellant carried by INSAT-3DR is mainly required to raise the satellite from the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) to its final Geostationary Orbit and to maintain the satellite in its orbital slot during its life. The satellite has a solar array generating 1700 Watts of power.
    • INSAT – 3B: INSAT – 3B is the first of the five ISRO built satellites under INSAT – 3 series to join INSAT system. INSAT – 3B is collocated with INSAT – 2E at 83 deg East Longitude. This satellite primarily serves to business communication, mobile communication and developmental communication. It provides the first set to transponders for Swaran Jayanti Vidya Vikas Antariksh Upagraha Yojana (Vidya Vahini) for interactive training and developmental communication giving fillip to the training and developmental Communication channel of INSAT.
  7. The Stretched Rohini Satellite Series(SROSS) are a series of satellites developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation as follow ons to the Rohini Satellites for conducting astrophysics, Earth Remote Sensing, and upper atmospheric monitoring experiments as well as for new and novel application-oriented missions. These satellites were the payload of the developmental flights of the Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle.
  8. IRS-1A: IRS-1A, the first of the series of indigenous state-of-art remote sensing satellites, was successfully launched into a polar sun-synchronous orbit on March 17, 1988 from the Soviet Cosmodrome at Baikonur. Undertaken by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It was a part-operational, part-experimental mission to develop Indian expertise in satellite imagery.
  9. GSAT-1 carrying three C-band transponders and one S-band transponder was launched on April 18, 2001 by GSLV-D1. GSAT-1 is used for conducting communication experiments like digital audio broadcast, internet services and compressed digital TV transmission. Several new spacecraft elements like improved reaction control thrusters, fast recovery star sensors and heat pipe radiator panels were also tested on this satellite.
    • GSAT-2 is a 2000 kg class experimental communication satellite onboard the second developmental test flight of India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, GSLV-D2. The satellite carried four C-band transponders, two Ku-band transponders and a Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) payload operating in S-band and C-band for forward link and return link respectively.
    • GSAT-4 was the nineteenth geo-stationary satellite of India built by ISRO and fourth in the GSAT series. GSAT-4 was basically an experimental satellite with the following new technologies intended to be tested. GSAT-4, also known as HealthSat, was an experimental communication and navigation satellite. GSAT-4 carried a multi-channel, Ka-band, bent pipe and regenerative transponder, and a navigation payload in the C, L1, and L5 bands. GSAT-4 was also to have been the first Indian spacecraft to employ ion propulsion. (An ion thrusterion drive, or ion engineis a form of electric propulsion used for spacecraft propulsion. It creates thrust by accelerating ions using electricity.) GSAT-4 carried the first GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation, or GAGAN, navigation payload. GSAT-4 was also intended to carry to the Israeli TAUVEX-2 space telescope array.
    • GSAT-5P was the fifth satellite launched in the GSAT series. It was an exclusive communication satellite to further augment the communication services currently provided by the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) System.
    • GSAT-8, India’s advanced communication satellite, is a high power communication satellite being inducted in the INSAT system. Weighing about 3100 Kg at lift-off, GSAT-8 is configured to carry 24 high power transponders in Ku-band and a two-channel GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) payload operating in L1 and L5 bands. The GAGAN payload provides the Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS), through which the accuracy of the positioning information obtained from the GPS Satellite is improved by a network of ground based receivers and made available to the users in the country through the geostationary satellites. GSAT-8or INSAT-4G is communication satellite. First satellite to carry GAGAN payload followed up by GSAT-10 and in-orbit spare GSAT-15.
    • GSAT-12is communication satellite designed and developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation. It is the second satellite to be launched and placed on a GTO using PSLV. GSAT-12 is considered to be a replacement of the aged satellite INSAT-3B. It will provide services like tele-education, tele-medicine, disaster management support and satellite internet access.
    • GSAT-10, India’s advanced communication satellite, is a high power satellite being inducted into the INSAT system. Weighing 3400 kg at lift-off, GSAT-10 is configured to carry 30 communication transponders in normal C-band, lower extended C-band and Ku-band as well as a GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) payload operating in L1 and L5 bands. GSAT-10 is the second satellite to carry GAGAN payload after GSAT-8, which is already providing navigation services from orbit. GSAT-10 also carries a Ku-band beacon to help in accurately pointing ground antennas towards the satellite.
    • GSAT-7 is an advanced communication satellite built by ISRO to provide wide range of service spectrum from low bit rate voice to high bit rate data communication. GSAT-7 Communication payload is designed to provide communication capabilities to users over a wide oceanic region including the Indian land-mass. The GSAT-7 payload design includes Multiband communication.
    • GSAT-14 is the twenty third geostationary communication satellite of India built by ISRO. The main objectives of GSAT-14 mission are: To augment the In-orbit capacity of Extended C and Ku-band transponders, To provide a platform for new experiments.
    • GSAT-16, an advanced communication satellite, weighing 3181.6 kg at lift-off, is being inducted into the INSAT-GSAT system. GSAT-16 is configured to carry a total of 48 communication transponders, the largest number of transponders carried by a communication satellite developed by ISRO so far, in normal C-band, upper extended C-band and Ku-band. GSAT-16 carried a Ku-band beacon as well to help accurately point ground antennas towards the satellite. GSAT-16 is launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) by Ariane-5 VA-221 launch vehicle from Kourou, French Guiana.
    • GSAT-6is the twenty fifth geostationary communication satellite of India built by ISRO and twelfth in the GSAT series. GSAT-6 Satellite provides communication through S-band payload with five spot beams covering whole India for user links and C-band with one beam. The cuboid shaped GSAT-6 has a lift-off mass of 2117 kg.
    • GSAT-15, India’s latest Communication Satellite is a high power satellite being inducted into the INSAT/GSAT system. Weighing 3164 kg at lift-off, GSAT-15 carried a total of 24 communication transponders in Ku-band as well as a GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) payload operating in L1 and L5 bands. GSAT-15 is the third satellite to carry GAGAN payload after GAST-8 and GSAT-10, which are already providing navigation services from orbit. GSAT-15, carried a Ku-band beacon as well to help in accurately pointing ground antennas towards the satellite.
    • India’s latest communication satellite, GSAT-18 was inducted into the INSAT/GSAT system. GSAT-18 carries 48 communication transponders to provide Services in Normal C-band, Upper Extended C-band and Ku-bands of the frequency spectrum. GSAT-18 carries Ku-band beacon as well to help in an accurately pointing ground antennas towards the satellite.
    • South Asia SatelliteGSAT-9 is a Geostationary Communication satellite realised by India. The primary objective of GSAT-9 is to provide various communication applications in Ku-band with coverage over South Asian countries. GSAT-9 carries communication transponders operating in Ku-band.
    • GSAT-19 carries Ka/Ku-band high throughput communication transponders. Besides, it carries a Geostationary Radiation Spectrometer (GRASP) payload to monitor and study the nature of charged particles and the influence of space radiation on satellites and their electronic components. GSAT-19 also features certain advanced spacecraft technologies including miniaturised heat pipe, fibre optic gyro, Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) accelerometer, Ku-band TTC transponder, as well an indigenous Lithium-ion Battery.
    • India’s latest communication satellite, GSAT-17 was inducted into the INSAT/GSAT system on June 29, 2017 from Kourou, French Guiana by Ariane-5 VA-238.
    • GSAT-6A,similar to GSAT-6 is a high power S-band communication satellite configured around I-2K bus. The mission life of spacecraft planned is about 10 years. The satellite will also provide a platform for developing technologies such as demonstration of 6 m S-Band Unfurlable Antenna, handheld ground terminals and network management techniques that could be useful in satellite based mobile communication applications.
    • GSAT-29 satellite with a lift-off mass of 3423 kg, is a multi-beam, multiband communication satellite of India, configured around the ISRO’s enhanced I-3K bus. This is the heaviest satellite launched from India.
    • India’s next generation high throughput communication satellite, GSAT-11 was successfully launched on December 05, 2018 from Kourou launch base, French Guiana by Ariane-5 VA-246. GSAT-11 is the fore-runner in the series of advanced communication satellites with multi-spot beam antenna coverage over Indian mainland and Islands. GSAT-11 will play a vital role in providing broadband services across the country. It will also provide a platform to demonstrate new generation applications. GSAT-11 was launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit and subsequently ISRO’s Master Control Facility at Hassan taken over the control of GSAT-11 to perform the initial orbit raising maneuvers using the Liquid Apogee Motor of the satellite for placing it in circular Geostationary Orbit
    • GSAT-7A is the 35th Indian Communication satellite built by ISRO. GSAT-7A Spacecraft is configured on ISRO’s standard I-2000 Kg (I-2K) Bus. The Satellite is built to provide communication capability to the users in Ku-band over the Indian region.
    • India’s telecommunication satellite, GSAT-31 was successfully launched on February 06, 2019 from Kourou launch base, French Guiana by Ariane-5 VA-247. The satellite derives its heritage from ISRO’s earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series. The satellite provides Indian mainland and island coverage.
    • India’s telecommunication satellite GSAT-30 was successfully launched into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). GSAT-30 is configured on ISRO’s enhanced I-3K Bus structure to provide communication services from Geostationary orbit in C and Ku bands. The satellite derives its heritage from ISRO’s earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series. Weighing 3357 kg, GSAT-30 is to serve as replacement to INSAT-4A spacecraft services with enhanced coverage.  The satellite provides Indian mainland and islands coverage in Ku-band and extended coverage in C-band covering Gulf countries, a large number of Asian countries and Australia.
  10. The Technology Experiment Satellite (TES) is an experimental satellite to demonstrate and validate the technologies like attitude and orbit control system, high-torque reaction wheels, new reaction control system, light-weight spacecraft structure, solid state recorder, X-band phased array antenna, improved satellite positioning system, miniaturised TTC and power systems and, two-mirror-on-axis camera optics.
  11. INSAT-3C, carrying Fixed Satellite Services (FSS) transponders, Broadcast Satellite Services (BSS) transponders and Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) transponders is intended to continue the service of INSAT-2DT and INSAT-2C which were nearing their end to life besides improving and augmenting the INSAT system capacity. INSAT-3C is the second satellite of the INSAT-3 series.
  12. INSAT–3A, the third satellite in INSAT–3 series is a multipurpose satellite for providing telecommunications, television broadcasting, meteorological and search and rescue services. It carries twenty four transponders – twelve operating in the normal C – band frequency, six in extended C-band and six in Ku–band. INSAT–3A also carries a Ku–band beacon. For Meteorological observation, INSAT–3A carries a three channel Very High Resolution Radiometer (VHRR). In addition, INSAT–3A carries a Charge Coupled Device (CCD) camera which operates in the visible and short wave infrared bands providing a spatial resolution of 1 km. A Data Relay Transponder (DRT) operating in UHF band is incorporated for real time hydro meteorological data collection from unattended located on land and river basins. The data is then relayed in extended C–band to a central location. INSAT–3A also carries another transponder for Satellite Aided Search and rescue (SA&R) as part of India’s contribution to the international Satellite Aided Search Programme.
  13. EDUSAT: GSAT-3, known as EDUSAT is meant for distant class room education from school level to higher education. This was the first dedicated “Educational Satellite” that provide the country with satellite based two way communication to class room for delivering educational materials. This is a Geo-synchronous satellite developed on I-2K bus. EDUSAT carries five Kuband transponders providing spot beams.
  14. CARTOSAT–1 is the first Indian Remote Sensing Satellite capable of providing in-orbit stereo images. The images were used for Cartographic applications meeting the global requirements. A stereoscopic Earth observation satellite in a Sun-synchronous orbit.
    • CARTOSAT – 2A is the thirteenth satellite in the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite series (IRS). It is a sophisticated and rugged remote sensing satellite that can provide scene specific spot imagery. This satellite carried a Panchromatic Camera (PAN). Imageries from this satellite were used for cartographic applications like mapping, urban and rural infrastructure development and management, as well as application in Land Information (LIS) and Geographical Information System (GIS).
    • CARTOSAT – 2B is the seventeenth satellite in the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite series (IRS). CARTOSAT-2B carries a Panchromatic camera (PAN) similar to those of its predecessors – CARTOSAT-2 and 2A. It is capable of imaging a swath (geographical strip) of 9.6 km with a resolution of better than 1 metre. The scene specific spot imagery sent by CARTOSAT-2B’s PAN is useful for cartographic and a host of other applications. Cartosat-2Bis an Earth observation satellite in a Sun-synchronous orbit.
    • The Cartosat-2 series satellite is the primary satellite carried by PSLV-C34. This satellite is similar to the earlier Cartosat-2, 2A and 2B. After its injection into a 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit by PSLV-C34, the satellite was brought to operational configuration following which it will begin providing regular remote sensing services using Panchromatic and Multi-spectral cameras. The imagery of Cartosat-2 series satellite will be useful cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps, precision study, change detection to bring out geographical and manmade features and various other Land Information System (LIS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) applications. 
    • The Cartosat-2 series satellite is the primary satellite carried by PSLV-C37. This satellite is similar to the earlier four satellites of the Cartosat-2 series. After its injection into a 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit by PSLV-C37, the satellite was brought to operational configuration following which it began providing regular remote sensing services using its Panchromatic and Multi-spectral cameras. The imageries from Cartosat-2 series satellite will useful for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps, change detection to bring out geographical and manmade features and various other Land Information System (LIS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) applications.
    • Cartosat-3 satellite is a third-generation agile advanced satellite having high resolution imaging capability. Potential uses include weather mapping, cartography or defence, and strategic applications. It was developed in response to increased demand for imaging services to address urban planning, rural resource and infrastructure development needs.
  15. HAMSAT is a Micro-satellite for providing satellite based Amateur Radio services to the national as well as the international community of Amateur Radio Operators (HAM). It consists of two transponders-one indigenously developed by Indian Amateurs, with the expertise of ISRO and the experience of HAMSAT-INDIA. This satellite carries the in-orbit designation of VO-52, and is an OSCAR series satellite.
  16. INSAT-4A, first in INSAT-4 Satellites series provides services in Ku and C-band frequency bands. The Ku transponders cover the Indian main land and C-Band transponders cover an extended area. It has a dozen Ku transponders and another dozen of C-band transponders.
    • INSAT–4B Spacecraft is the second in the INSAT 4 series of spacecrafts and is configured with exclusive communication payloads to provide services in Ku and C frequency bands. 
    • INSAT-4B is the 21stIndian GEO satellite to undergo post-mission disposal, the required propellant for such re-orbiting was included in the initial fuel budget as a part of standard practice followed in ISRO’s GEO mission planning. The finally achieved orbit is about 340 km above GEO altitude in perfect compliance with IADC guidelines for space debris mitigation of GEO objects.
    • INSAT–4CR spacecraft is configured with exclusive Ku band employing the I-2K Bus with a mass of 2130 Kg. It was injected into the orbit by GSLV-F04 rocket with enhanced Russian Cryogenic engine. INSAT-4CR carries 12 high-power Ku-band transponders designed to provide Direct-to-home (DTH) television services, Video Picture Transmission (VPT) and Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG).
  17. Space Capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE – 1) is a 550 kg capsule intended to demonstrate the technology of an orbiting platform for performing experiments in micro gravity conditions. After completion of the experiments, the capsule was de-orbited and recovered. SRE – 1 mission provided a valuable experience in fields like navigation, guidance and control during the re-entry phase, hypersonic aero thermodynamic, development of reusable thermal protection system (TPS), recovery through deceleration and flotation, besides acquisition of basic technology for reusable launch vehicles. SRE – 1 carries two experiments, an Isothermal Heating Furnace (IHF) and a Bio-mimetic experiment.
  18. Student Satellite (STUDSAT) is the first pico-satellite developed in the country by a consortium of seven engineering colleges from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. STUDSAT weighing less than 1 kg, has the primary objective of promoting space technology in educational institutions and encourage research and development in miniaturized satellites, establishing a communication link between the satellite and ground station, capturing the image of earth with a resolution of 90 meters and transmitting the payload and telemetry data to the earth station.
  19. IMS-1, previously referred to as TWSat (Third World Satellite), is a low-cost microsatellite imaging mission of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization). IMS-1 is the first satellite to use ISRO’s Indian Mini Satellite bus. It was launched by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.
  20. Chandrayaan-1: India’s first mission to Moon, was launched successfully on October 22, 2008 from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota. The spacecraft was orbiting around the Moon at a height of 100 km from the lunar surface for chemical, mineralogical and photo-geologic mapping of the Moon. The spacecraft carried 11 scientific instruments built in India, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden and Bulgaria. It was intended to survey the lunar surface over a two-year period, to produce a complete map of the chemical composition at the surface and three-dimensional topography. The polar regions are of special interest as they might contain water ice. Among its many achievements was the discovery of widespread presence of water molecules in lunar soil. Chandrayaan-1 was India’s first deep space mission. Among its suite of instruments, it carried NASA’s Moon Minerology Mapper (M3), an imaging spectrometer helped confirm the discovery of water locked in minerals on the Moon.
    • Chandrayaan-2 mission is a highly complex mission, which represents a significant technological leap compared to the previous missions of ISRO. It comprised an Orbiter, Lander and Rover to explore the unexplored South Pole of the Moon. The mission is designed to expand the lunar scientific knowledge through detailed study of topography, seismography, mineral identification and distribution, surface chemical composition, thermo-physical characteristics of top soil and composition of the tenuous lunar atmosphere, leading to a new understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon. The Orbiter placed in its intended orbit around the Moon will enrich our understanding of the moon’s evolution and mapping of the minerals and water molecules in Polar regions, using its eight state-of-the-art scientific instruments. The Orbiter camera is the highest resolution camera in any lunar mission so far and will provide high resolution images which will be immensely useful to the global scientific community. The precise launch and mission management has ensured a long life of almost seven years instead of the planned one year.
    • India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, GSLV MkIII-M1, successfully launched Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft on July 22, 2019 into its planned orbit with a perigee (nearest point to Earth).
  21. ANUSAT (Anna University Satellite) is the first satellite built by an Indian University under the overall guidance of ISRO and will demonstrate the technologies related to message store and forward operations.
  22. RISAT-2 is a Radar Imaging Satellite with all-weather capability to take images of the earth. This Satellite enhances ISRO’s capability for Disaster Management applications. The principal sensor of RISAT-2 was an X-band synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). It is designed to monitor India’s borders and as part of anti-infiltration and anti-terrorist operations. It possesses day-night as well as all-weather monitoring capability. Potential applications include tracking hostile ships at sea that are deemed a military threat to India.
    • Radar Satellite-1 (RISAT-1) is a state-of-the-art Microwave Remote Sensing Satellite carrying a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Payload operating in C-band (5.35 GHz), which enables imaging of the surface features during both day and night under all weather conditions. Active Microwave Remote Sensing provides cloud penetration and day-night imaging capability. These unique characteristics of C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar enable applications in agriculture, particularly paddy monitoring in kharif season and management of natural disasters like flood and cyclone.
    • RISAT-2B is a radar imaging earth observation satellite developed by ISRO.
    • RISAT-2BR1 is a radar imaging earth observation satellite. The satellite will provide services in the field of Agriculture, Forestry and Disaster Management.
    • India’s PSLV-C46 successfully launched RISAT-2B satellite from of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. The satellite is intended to provide services to Agriculture, Forestry and Disaster Management domains.
  23. Oceansat-2: Oceansat-2is the second Indian satellite built primarily for ocean applications. It was a part of the Indian Remote Sensing Programme satellite series. Oceansat-2 is an Indian satellite designed to provide service continuity for operational users of the Ocean Colour Monitor (OCM) instrument on Oceansat-1. It will also enhance the potential of applications in other areas. The major applications of data from Oceansat-2 are the identification of potential fishing zones, sea state forecasting, coastal zone studies, and inputs for weather forecasting and climatic studies.
    1. SCATSAT-1 is a continuity mission for Oceansat-2 Scatterometer to provide wind vector data products for weather forecasting, cyclone detection and tracking services to the users. The satellite carries Ku-band Scatterometer similar to the one flown onboard Oceansat-2.  The SCATSAT-1 was launched by PSLV-C35. The mission life of the satellite is 5 years. 
  24. RESOURCESAT-2 is a follow on mission to RESOURCESAT-1 and the eighteenth Remote Sensing satellite built by ISRO. RESOURCESAT-2 is intended to continue the remote sensing data services to global users provided by RESOURCESAT-1, and to provide data with enhanced multispectral and spatial coverage as well. RESOURCESAT-2 also carries an additional payload known as AIS (Automatic Identification System) from COMDEV, Canada as an experimental payload for ship surveillance in VHF band to derive position, speed and other information about ships.
    1. RESOURCESAT-2A is a Remote Sensing satellite intended for resource monitoring.
  25. YOUTHSAT is a joint Indo-Russian stellar and atmospheric satellite mission with the participation of students from Universities at graduate, post graduate and research scholar level. With a lift-off mass of 92 kg, Youthsat is a mini satellite and the second in the Indian Mini Satellite (IMS) series. Youthsat mission intends to investigate the relationship between solar variability and thermosphere-Ionosphere changes. The satellite carries three payloads, of which two are Indian and one Russian. Together, they form a unique and comprehensive package of experiments for the investigation of the composition, energetics and dynamics of earth’s upper atmosphere.
  26. The nanosatellite SRMSat weighing 10.9 kg is developed by the students and faculty of SRM University attempts to address the problem of Global warming and pollution levels in the atmosphere by monitoring Carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapour (H2O). 
  27. Megha-Tropiques is an Indo-French Joint Satellite Mission for studying the water cycle and energy exchanges in the tropics. The main objective of this mission is to understand the life cycle of convective systems that influence the tropical weather and climate and their role in associated energy and moisture budget of the atmosphere in tropical regions. Megha-Tropiques provides scientific data on the contribution of the water cycle to the tropical atmosphere, with information on condensed water in clouds, water vapour in the atmosphere, precipitation, and evaporation.
  28. The nanosatellite Jugnu weighing 3 kg is designed and developed by Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur under the guidance of ISRO. To prove the indigenously developed camera system for imaging the Earth in the near infrared region and test image processing algorithms. Evaluate GPS receiver for its use in satellite navigation. Test indigenously developed MEMS based Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) in space.
  29. The Satellite with ARGOS and ALTIKA (SARAL) is a joint Indo-French satellite mission for oceanographic studies. SARAL performs altimetric measurements designed to study ocean circulation and sea surface elevation.
  30. IRNSS-1A is the first satellite in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS). It is one of the seven satellites constituting the IRNSS space segment. IRNSS-1A carries two types of payloads navigation payload and ranging payload. The navigation payload of IRNSS-1A transmits navigation service signals to the users. This payload is operating in L5-band and S-band. A highly accurate Rubidium atomic clock is part of the navigation payload of the satellite. The ranging payload of IRNSS-1A consists of a C-band transponder which facilitates accurate determination of the range of the satellite. IRNSS-1A also carries Corner Cube Retro Reflectors for laser ranging.
    • IRNSS-1B is the second dedicated navigation satellite of India. It is one of the seven satellites constituting the IRNSS space segment. Its predecessor, IRNSS-1A, was launched by PSLV-C22 in July 2013. IRNSS-1B has a lift-off mass of 1432 kg. The configuration of IRNSS-1B is similar to that of IRNSS-1A. IRNSS -1B carries two types of payloads – navigation payload and ranging payload. The navigation payload of IRNSS-1B transmits navigation service signals to the users. This payload is operating in L5-band and S-band.
    • IRNSS-1C is the third navigation satellite of the seven satellites constituting the IRNSS space segment. IRNSS-1C has a lift-off mass of 1425.4 kg.
    • IRNSS-1D is the fourth navigation satellite of the seven satellites constituting the IRNSS space segment.
    • IRNSS-1E is the fifth navigation satellite of the seven satellites constituting the IRNSS space segment. This payload is operating in L5-band and S-band.
    • IRNSS-1F is the sixth navigation satellite of the seven satellites constituting the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) space segment.  IRNSS-1F also carries Corner Cube Retro Reflectors for laser ranging.
    • IRNSS-1G is the seventh navigation satellite of the seven satellites constituting the IRNSS space segment. Like its other IRNSS predecessors, IRNSS-1G also carries two types of payloads – navigation payload and ranging payload. The navigation payload of IRNSS-1G transmits navigation service signals to the users. This payload is operating in L5-band and S-band. A highly accurate Rubidium atomic clock is part of the navigation payload of the satellite. IRNSS-1G was launched by PSLV-C33 into a sub–Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.
    • IRNSS-1H was planned to be launched by PSLV-C39 into a sub–Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (sub-GTO).
    • IRNSS-1I is the eighth navigation satellite to join the IRNSS space segment. 
  31. Mars Orbiter Mission: India’s first interplanetary mission to planet Mars with an orbiter craft designed to orbit Mars in an elliptical orbit. The Mission is primarily technological mission considering the critical mission operations and stringent requirements on propulsion and other bus systems of spacecraft. It has been configured to carry out observation of physical features of mars and carry out limited study of Martian atmosphere. It is India’s first interplanetary mission and it made it the fourth space agency to achieve Mars orbit, after Roscosmos, NASA, and the European Space Agency. It made India the first Asian nation to reach Martian orbit and the first nation in the world to do so on its maiden attempt. The primary objective of the mission is to develop the technologies required for designing, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission. The secondary objective is to explore Mars’ surface features, morphology, mineralogy and Martian atmosphere using indigenous scientific instruments.
  32. Crew Module (CM) is identified as the payload in GSLV MK-III-X/CARE Mission. CARE is the acronym for Crew module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment. The mission would be used as a platform for testing the re-entry technologies envisaged for Crew Module including validating the performance of parachute based deceleration system. CARE is expected to enhance the understanding of blunt body re-entry aerothermodynamics and parachute deployment in cluster configuration.
  33. ASTROSAT is India’s first dedicated multi wavelength space observatory. This scientific satellite mission endeavours for a more detailed understanding of our universe. One of the unique features of ASTROSAT mission is that enables the simultaneous multi-wavelength observations of various astronomical objects with a single satellite. ASTROSAT observes universe in the 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. Multi-wavelength observations of ASTROSAT can be further extended with co-ordinated observations using other spacecraft and ground based observations. All major astronomy Institutions and some Universities in India are participating in these observations.
  34. SathyabamaSat is a micro experimental satellite developed by students and faculty of Sathyabama University, Chennai to collect data on greenhouse gases (water vapor, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen fluoride). It was launched along with the Cartosat-2C satellite atop PSLV-C34. 
  35. Swayam is a 1-U picosatellite (CubeSat) developed by the undergraduate students of College of Engineering, Pune. They have successfully completed assembly of the flight model having a size of 1-U and weight of 990 grams under the guidance of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in January 2015. To provide point to point messaging services to the HAM Community. The satellite is to be placed in low Earth orbit (LEO) around the Earth at a height of 515 km. Mission Swayam is the first satellite project of COEP’s Satellite Initiative under the CSAT programme.
  36. PISat (PESIT Imaging Satellite) is a remote sensing nanosatellite developed by the PES University, Bengaluru. The main mission of the satellite was to develop the capability of designing satellites on campus with collaboration from students and professors. The satellite was launched on 26 September 2016 by ISRO using the PSLV-C35 rocket.
  37. Pratham is an Indian ionospheric research satellite which will be operated by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay as part of the Student Satellite Initiative. Its primary mission is to count electrons in the Earth’s ionosphere.
  38. INS-1B: Earth Exosphere Lyman Alpha Analyser (EELA) payload from Laboratory for Electro-Optics Systems (LEOS), Bengaluru Registers terrestrial exospheric line-of-sight neutral atomic hydrogen Lyman Alpha flux. Besides, it will estimate the interplanetary hydrogen Lyman-alpha background flux by means of deep space observations.
  39. NIUSAT is an Indian University/Academic Institute satellite from Noorul Isalm University in Tamil Nadu State, launched by PSLV-C38. This 15 kg three axis stabilised satellite is built to provide multispectral imagery for agricultural crop monitoring and disaster management support applications.
  40. PSLV-C40 carries a Microsatellite (Microsat) built by ISRO as a co-passenger payload. Microsat is a small satellite in the 100 kg class that derives its heritage from IMS-1 bus. This is a technology demonstrator and the fore runner for future satellites of this series. The satellite bus is modular in design and can be fabricated and tested independently of payload.
  41. HysIS, the primary satellite of PSLV-C43 mission, weighing about 380 kg, is an earth observation satellite configured around ISRO’s Mini Satellite-2 (IMS-2) bus. The primary goal of HysIS is to study the earth’s surface in the visible, near infrared and shortwave infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  42. Kalamsat-V2, a student payload is first to use fourth stage (PS4) of the PSLV as an orbital platform. The satellite was taken to its designated orbit by PSLV-C44.
  43. Microsat-R, an imaging satellite was successfully injected into intended orbit of 274 km by PSLV-C44.
  44. EMISAT is a satellite built around ISRO’s Mini Satellite-2 bus weighing about 436 kg. The satellite is intended for electromagnetic spectrum measurement.
  45. EOS-01 is an earth observation satellite, intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support. An X-band, synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) based all-weather Earth imaging satellite. It is a part of India’s RISAT series of SAR imaging spacecraft and would be third satellite in the series including RISAT-2B, RISAT-2BR1 with 120° phasing.
    • EOS-03 is a state-of-the-art agile Earth observation satellite which will be placed in a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit by GSLV-F10. Subsequently, the satellite will reach the final geostationary orbit using its onboard propulsion system.
    • India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C52 injected Earth Observation Satellite EOS-04, into an intended sun synchronous polar orbit. It is a Radar Imaging Satellite designed to provide high quality images under all weather conditions for applications such as Agriculture, Forestry & Plantations, Soil Moisture & Hydrology and Flood mapping. Weighing about 1710 kg, it generates 2280 W power and has a mission life of 10 years. 
  46. CMS-01 is a communication satellite envisaged for providing services in Extended-C Band of the frequency spectrum. The Extended-C Band coverage will include Indian mainland, Andaman-Nicobar & Lakshadweep Islands. CMS-01 is the 42nd Communication Satellite of India.
  47. Named UNITYsat, the mission will mark the 75 years of India’s independence. Developed by students from the Chandigarh University, Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur, IIT-Bombay, and 11 other institutions, these satellites have been designed to promote the Internet of Things (IoT) in space. The mission will provide new insights into developing materials for testing and deployment of a constellation of satellites. It will also demonstrate audio streaming and broadcasting from the Low Earth Orbit region when the constellation of satellites flies over India. 
  48. PSLV-C4 is the seventh flight of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and its first flight to place a satellite – the 1060 kg METSAT – into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). Initially, PSLV was designed for launching 900 kg Indian Remote Sensing Satellites (IRS) into a 900 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit. Since its first launch in 1993 from Sriharikota, the four stage PSLV has been successively improved to enhance its capability.
    1. PSLV-C8 is the eleventh flight of ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and its first commercial launch as well.
    2. In its tenth flight conducted from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota, on January 10, 2007, ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C7, successfully launched four satellites – India’s CARTOSAT-2 and Space capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE-1), Indonesia’s LAPAN-TUBSAT and Argentina’s PEHUENSAT-1 into a 635 km high polar orbit. For the first time, a Dual Launch Adopter (DLA) was used in PSLV to accommodate two primary satellites in tandem.
    3. PSLV-C10, the twelfth launch and second commercial launch of India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), was launched successfully. This was the first flight of PSLV to launch a satellite into an elliptical orbit with medium inclination. Incidentally, this was the twenty fifth satellite launch mission from SDSC, SHAR.
  49. GSLV-D6is the ninth flight of India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). It is also the fifth developmental flight of GSLV and third time the indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) is being carried on-board during a GSLV flight. GSLV-D6 flight is significant since it intends to continue the testing of CUS. GSLV is designed to inject 2 ton class of communication satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
  50. The first experimental mission of ISRO’s Scramjet Engine towards the realisation of an Air Breathing Propulsion System was successfully conducted. The Scramjet engine designed by ISRO uses Hydrogen as fuel and the Oxygen from the atmospheric air as the oxidiser. This test was the maiden short duration experimental test of ISRO’s Scramjet engine with a hypersonic flight at Mach 6. ISRO’s Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV), which is an advanced sounding rocket, was the solid rocket booster used for the test of Scramjet engines at supersonic conditions.  ATV carrying Scramjet engines weighed 3277 kg at lift-off.
  51. India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C51 successfully launched Amazonia-1. Amazonia-1 is the optical earth observation satellite of National Institute for Space Research (INPE). This satellite would further strengthen the existing structure by providing remote sensing data to users for monitoring deforestation in the Amazon region and analysis of diversified agriculture across the Brazilian territory. PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 is the first dedicated commercial mission of NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a Government of India company under Department of Space. Space Missions in News UPSC
  52. Aditya L1 is a planned coronagraphy spacecraft to study solar atmosphere, currently being designed and developed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and various other Indian research institutes. It will be inserted in a halo orbit around the L1 point between Earth and Sun where it will study solar atmosphere, solar magnetic storms and it’s impact on environment around Earth. The spacecraft will study coronal heating, solar wind acceleration, coronal magnetometry, origin and monitoring of near-UV solar radiation and continuously observe photosphere, chromosphere and corona, solar energetic particles and magnetic field of the Sun.
  53. The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar(NISAR) mission is a joint project between NASA and ISRO to co-develop and launch a dual-frequency synthetic aperture radar on an Earth observation satellite. The satellite will be the first radar imaging satellite to use dual frequencies. It will be used for remote sensing, to observe and understand natural processes on Earth. For example, its left-facing instruments will study the Antarctic cryosphere. NISAR is likely to be the world’s most expensive Earth-imaging satellite. It is designed to observe and measure some of the planet’s most complex natural processes, including ecosystem disturbances, ice-sheet collapse, and natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and landslides.
  54. Shukrayaan-1is a proposed orbiter to Venus by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to study the surface and atmosphere of Venus. So far, 42 Venus missions have been sent to Venus from planet Earth. Japan’s Akatsuki is currently flying around Venus.
  55. The Lunar Polar Explorationmission (LUPEX) is a robotic lunar mission concept by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) that would send a lunar rover and lander to explore the south pole region of the Moon in 2024. JAXA is likely to provide the under-development H3 launch vehicle and the rover, while ISRO would be responsible for the lander.
  56. The DRDO Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) Weapon System was on display at Rajpath in the Republic Day parade on Sunday. With space becoming a vital dimension of any country’s economic and military superiority, A-SAT (Anti-Satellite) weapons play a critical role in providing the necessary strategic deterrence. In March last year, the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) launched ‘Mission Shakti’, India’s first A-SAT mission and demonstrated its anti-satellite technology. A live orbiting satellite in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) was destroyed in a “Hit to Kill” mode with 10 centimetre accuracy, with the satellite and the missile approaching each other at a high speed of nearly 11 km per second. The covert technology of ‘hit to kill’, developed for the first time by India for such applications, enables it to destroy an enemy satellite by directly colliding with it with pin-point accuracy. The successful demonstration has placed India at par with the elite club of three nations — U.S., Russia and China — that possess this capability.
  57. Dhawan-1: Skyroot Aerospace test-fired India’s first privately built cryogenic rocket engine. The cryogenic rocket engine is 100 per cent 3D printed and 100 percent made in India. It has been named after Satish Dhawan, who was the third chairman of ISRO. Vikram Rocket has been named after pioneering Vikram Sarabhai, who kickstarted the ambitious space program in India. The rocket uses a combination of Liquid Natural Gas, which is more than 90 per cent methane.
  58. Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle: an Unmanned Scramjet Vehicle. By DRDO. Capability to travel at six times the speed of sound. Significant milestone towards a Sashakt Bharat and Atmanirbhar Bharat. Serve as the building block for NextGen Hypersonic vehicles. Conducted from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Launch Complex at Wheeler Island, off the coast of Odisha. Boost Both offensive and defensive hypersonic cruise missile systems and also in the space sector. Scramjet’s category of jet engines called the air breathing engines. Ability of engines to handle airflows of speeds in multiples of speed of sound. Hypersonic speeds are those which are five times or more than the speed of sound.
  59. Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV): The SSLV is intended to cater to a market for the launch of small satellites into low earth orbits which has emerged in recent years on account of the need for developing countries, private corporations, and universities for small satellites. The launch of small satellites has until now been dependent on ‘piggy-back’ rides with big satellite launches on ISRO’s work-horse – the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle which has had over 50 successful launches so far. The launch of small satellites as a consequence has been dependent on the finalising of launch contracts for the larger satellites by ISRO. The SSLV can carry satellites weighing up to 500 kg to a low earth orbit while the tried and tested PSLV can launch satellites weighing in the range of 1000 kg. The SSLV is the smallest vehicle at 110-ton mass at ISRO. It will take only 72 hours to integrate, unlike the 70 days taken now for a launch vehicle. Only six people will be required to do the job, instead of 60 people. The entire job will be done in a very short time and the cost will be only around Rs 30 crore. It will be an on-demand vehicle.
  60. ISRO’s 2022 Mission
    • GAGANYAN: The Gaganyaan Programme envisages undertaking the demonstration of human spaceflight to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in the short-term and will lay the foundation for a sustained Indian human space exploration programme in the long run. The objective of Gaganyaan programme is to demonstrate indigenous capability to undertake human space flight mission to LEO. As part of this programme, two unmanned missions and one manned mission are approved by Government of India (GoI). The first crewed mission was originally planned to be launched on ISRO’s GSLV Mk IIIin December 2021, but this has since been delayed to no earlier than 2023.
    • DISHA (Disturbed and quiet-type System at High Altitude). Mission of ISRO which is a twin-satellite system that will study Earth’s aeronomy, the uppermost layer of Earth’s atmosphere. It will involve twin satellites orbiting Earth at an altitude of 450km. 
    • TRISHNA (Thermal infraRed Imaging Satellite for High resolution Natural resource Assessment): ISRO and CNES have completed the feasibility study to realise the earth observation satellite mission with thermal infrared imager, TRISHNA. It is meant for accurate mapping of land surface temperatures. It will acquire imagery of Earth’s surface in the thermal infrared with a resolution and revisit frequency never seen before.
    • Chandrayaan-3:It could be set for a launch date by the middle of 2023 with huge progress in incorporating design and testing. It is the third Moon mission of the ISRO and successor of Chandrayaan-2 mission. It involves various processes, including finalisation of configuration, subsystems realisation, integration, spacecraft level detailed testing and a number of special tests to evaluate the system performance on earth. 



  1. American Space Agency, NASA, is set to send its “Psyche Mission” to visit a giant asteroid called Psyche, which could be the frozen remains of molten core of a bygone world. Psyche asteroid orbits around the Sun in main asteroid belt, in between Mars and Jupiter.

  2. Polar-Areas Stellar-Imaging in Polarisation High-Accuracy Experiment (PASIPHAE) is an international collaborative sky surveying project. Scientists aim to study the polarisation in the light coming from millions of stars. The survey will use two hightech optical polarimeters to observe the northern and southern skies, simultaneously. It will focus on capturing starlight polarisation of very faint stars that are so far away that polarization signals from there have not been systematically studied. The distances to these stars will be obtained from measurements of the GAIA satellite.
  3. The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is a large telescope array consisting of a global network of radio telescopes. The EHT project combines data from several very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) stations around Earth, which form a combined array with an angular resolution sufficient to observe objects the size of a supermassive black hole’s event horizon. The project’s observational targets include the two black holes with the

    largest angular diameter as observed from Earth: the black hole at the center of the supergiant elliptical galaxy Messier 87 (M87), and Sagittarius A* at the center of the Milky Way.

  4. Kanopus-V (also spelling of Canopus-V N1): An Earth observation minisatellite mission of the Russian Space Agency, Roskosmos. Objective: Monitoring Earth’s surface, the atmosphere, ionosphere, and magnetosphere to detect and study the probability of strong earthquake occurrence. In News: Recently Russia is preparing to provide Kanopus-V satellite to Iran. The satellite would allow “continuous monitoring of facilities ranging from Persian Gulf oil refineries and Israeli military bases to Iraqi barracks that house US troops.
  5. South Korea Launched 1st Military Satellite, ‘ANASIS-II’
  6. UAE launches ‘HOPE’, its first spacecraft bound for Mars
  7. Israel launches “Ofek 16” spy satellite into space
  8. Sri Lanka launches First Satellite Named ‘Ravana-1’
  9. Ethiopia Launches First Satellite Named ‘ETRSS-1’
  10. Sudan launches First Satellite, Named ‘SRSS-1’
  11. Nepal launches First Satellite Named ‘NepaliSat-1’
  12. Iran launches First Military Satellite Named ‘Noor
  13. Russia to launch First ‘Arktika-M’ satellite: Russia launched its 1st satellite named Arktika-M to monitor the Arctic climate and environment later this year. Russia`s Arktika-M remote-sensing and emergency communications satellites will gather meteorological data in the polar regions of the Earth.
  14. IXPE mission: IXPE stands for Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer. Joint effort of NASA and the Italian Space Agency. Study “the most extreme and mysterious objects in the universe – supernova remnants, supermassive black holes, and dozens of other high-energy objects.” Going to show us the violent universe around us – such as exploding stars and the black holes at the center of galaxies – in ways we’ve never been able to see it. According to NASA, IXPE’s polarization measurements will help scientists answer questions such as: How do black holes spin? Was the black hole at the center of the Milky Way actively feeding on surrounding material in the past? How do pulsars shine so brightly in X-rays? What powers the jets of energetic particles that are ejected from the region around the supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies?
  15. NEA Scout: A new spacecraft announced by NASA. One of several payloads that will hitch a ride on Artemis I mission for landing on moon. Artemis I will be an uncrewed testflight of the Orion spacecraft and SLS rocket. Under the Artemis programme, NASA has aimed to land the first woman on the Moon in 2024 and also establish sustainable lunar exploration programs by 2030. Near-Earth Asteroid Scout, or NEA Scout, is a small spacecraft, about the size of a big shoebox.  Mission is to fly by and collect data from a near-Earth asteroid. America’s first interplanetary mission using a special solar sail propulsion.
  16. With the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before. We will collaborate with our commercial and international partners and establish sustainable exploration by the end of the decade. Then, we will use what we learn on and around the Moon to take the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.
  17. TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI): The UV-VIS-NIR-SWIR spectrometer on the Copernicus Sentinel 5 Precursor platform. The data products that will be produced by TROPOMI include column estimates of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and formaldehyde, ozone profiles, and information on clouds and aerosols. TROPOMI has been developed by The Netherlands in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA). The Sentinel-5 Precursor (S5P) is the first of the atmospheric composition Sentinels, launched on 13 October 2017, planned for a mission of seven years.
  18. EnVision Venus Mission: It is a European Space Agency (ESA) led mission with contributions from NASA. It is likely to be launched sometime in the 2030s. Study the Venus atmosphere and surface, monitor trace gases in the atmosphere and analyse its surface composition. Note: Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft has also been studying the planet’s atmosphere since 2015. Recently NASA selected two missions to the planet Venus, Earth’s nearest neighbour. The missions called DAVINCI+ and VERITAS.
  19. Two New Missions to Venus by NASA: DAVINCI + is- ‘Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, & Imaging’. First US-led mission to the planet’s atmosphere since 1978. Understand Venus’ composition, will try to return the first high resolution photographs of a geological feature, tesserae, that is unique to Venus. VERITAS is ‘Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, & Spectroscopy’. Map the planet’s surface to determine its geologic history.
  20. CHEOPS (Characterizing Exoplanet Satellite) Mission: Mission of the European Space Agency (ESA). 1st mission dedicated to studying bright, nearby stars that are already known to host exoplanets. To make high-precision observations of the planet’s size as it passes in front of its host star. Focuses on planets in the super-Earth to Neptune size range, as a first-step characterisation towards understanding these alien worlds.
  21. Tundra Satellite: Recently, Russia has successfully placed into orbit a military satellite believed to be part of the Kremlin’s early warning anti-missile system. The Tundra or EKS (Edinaya Kosmicheskaya Sistema) series of satellites is the next generation of Russian early-warning satellites. The development of the EKS started in 2000. These satellites carry a secure emergency communications payload to be used in case of a nuclear war. They are launched on Soyuz-2-1b Fregat boosters into Molniya-orbits, inclined highly elliptical 12 h orbits.
  22. MOXIE- Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment : NASA has announced that the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) aboard the Perseverance rover was able to produce oxygen from the thin Martian atmosphere for the first time. MOXIE produced 5 grams of oxygen from carbon dioxide, enough for an astronaut to breathe for 10 minutes in Mars. It is designed to generate up to 10 grams of oxygen per hour. To produce oxygen, MOXIE separates oxygen atoms from carbon dioxide molecules by using heat at a temperature of around 800 degrees Celsius. In the process, it also produces carbon monoxide as a waste product, which it releases in the Martian atmosphere. Note: In Mars’ atmosphere, carbon dioxide makes up 96% of the gas. But oxygen is only 0.13%, compared to 21% in Earth’s atmosphere.
  23. Stardust 1.0: Recently the United States of America’s Stardust 1.0 became the first commercial space launch powered by biofuel. Manufactured by blueshift. Key features: A launch vehicle suited for student and budget payloads. Mass of 250 kg and can carry a maximum payload mass of 8 kg. Will help to launch small satellites called cubesats into space. Relatively cheaper than using traditional rocket fuel. Less toxic for the environment.
  24. ASTHROS Mission: -Astrophysics Stratospheric Telescope for High Spectral Resolution Observation as Sub millimeter wavelengths. Launched by NASA. large balloons will be sent from Antarctica in December 2023 into stratosphere. It will observe air currents above the continent- observe wavelengths of invisible light from the earth. The balloon has a telescope, sub systems, science instruments, electronic systems and cooling systems. Balloon is to be inflated with Helium. Applications: It will study giant stars and their formation in the Milky Way Galaxy. The mission for the first time will detect and map the presence of two specific types of nitrogen ions. These ions will help to reveal places where winds from supernova explosions of massive stars helped to reshape the gas clouds.
  25. Missions to Mars:
    1. UAE’s Amal (Hope) orbiter: Launched 19th July, Arab world’s first mission to Mars
    2. China’s Tianwen-1: It’s first Mars probe, will consist of an orbiter, lander, rover. To be launched in few days.
    3. NASA’s Perseverance rover: NASA’s Curiosity rover has already been exploring Mars since 2012.
    4. Mars Express is by the European Space Agency, Launched in 2003, still exploring Mars. Is the first inter-planetary mission attempted by the agency.
  26. NASA ICON Mission: NASA has launched a satellite ICON to detect dynamic zones of Earth’s Ionosphere. The satellite Ionosphere Connection Explorer (ICON) was launched from an aircraft over the Atlantic Ocean near the Florida coast. Earth’s Ionosphere includes various layers of the uppermost atmosphere where free electrons flow freely. This mission is operated by the University of California.
  27. What is NASA’s Gateway Lunar Orbit outpost? Essentially, the Gateway is a small spaceship that will orbit the Moon, meant for astronaut missions to the Moon and later, for expeditions to Mars. It will act as a temporary office and living quarters for astronauts, distanced at about 250,000 miles from Earth. The spaceship will have living quarters, laboratories for science and research and docking ports for visiting spacecraft.
  28. Lucyis a NASA space probe on a twelve-year journey to eight different asteroids, visiting a main belt asteroid as well as seven Jupiter trojans, asteroids which share Jupiter’s orbit around the Sun, orbiting either ahead of or behind the planet.  The mission is named after the Lucy hominin fossils, because study of the trojans could reveal the “fossils of planet formation”: materials that clumped together in the early history of the Solar System to form planets and other bodies. Lucy will be the first space mission to study the Trojans. Likewise, the Lucy mission will revolutionize our knowledge of planetary origins and the formation of the solar system. Lucy will show us, for the first time, the diversity of the primordial bodies that built the planets.
  29. Inspiration4was a human spaceflight mission in 2021, operated by SpaceX. The mission successfully completed the first orbital spaceflight with only private citizens aboard and was part of a charitable effort. The Crew Dragon spacecraft is set to be launched from NASA’s

    Kennedy Space Centre in Florida in the US. It will take a group of four private citizens into space for three days.

  30. Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (Viper) will be launched aboard SpaceX Falcon-Heavy rocket in 2023 as part of Nasa’s Artemis programme and will reach the lunar surface on the back of Astrobotic’s Griffin lander. It will be the first rover to explore the Moon’s south pole.
  31. The Landsat 9 of NASA joins Landsat 8 that was launched in 2013 and the satellites together will collect images of Earth’s surface. It takes 8 days to capture the whole Earth. Landsat 9 carries instruments similar to the other Landsat satellites, but it is the most technologically advanced satellite of its generation. The earth monitoring satellite, Landsat 9, is a joint mission of NASA and the US Geological Survey (USGS).
  32. The Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, will measure the height of a changing Earth – one laser pulse at a time, 10,000 laser pulses a second. Launched in 2018, ICESat-2 will carry a laser altimeter that detects individual photons, allowing scientists to measure the elevation of ice sheets, sea ice, forests and more in unprecedented detail. Our planet’s frozen and icy areas, called the cryosphere, are a key focus of NASA’s Earth science research. ICESat-2 will help scientists investigate why, and how much, our cryosphere is changing in a warming climate. The satellite will also measure heights across Earth’s temperate and tropical regions, and take stock of the vegetation in forests worldwide.
  33. The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph — IRIS — is a NASA Small Explorer Mission to observe how solar material moves, gathers energy, and heats up as it travels through a little-understood region in the Sun’s lower atmosphere. Tracking how material and energy move through this region is a crucial part of understanding solar dynamics. Such information can help explain what causes the ejection of solar material — from the steady stream of the solar wind to larger, explosive eruptions such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) — that travels toward Earth and causes space weather that can disrupt human technology. IRIS is the first mission designed to simultaneously observe the range of temperatures specific to the chromosphere and transition region at very high spatial and temporal resolution — going beyond earlier missions that were lower resolution or did not cover a wide range of temperatures.
  34. NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE, pronounced like “laddie”) is a robotic mission that will orbit the moon to gather detailed information about the lunar atmosphere, conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust.
  35. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission is part of NASA’s Mars Scout program. The mission will explore the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere and interactions with the sun and solar wind. Scientists will use MAVEN data to determine the role that loss of volatiles from the Mars atmosphere to space has played through time, giving insight into the history of Mars’ atmosphere and climate, liquid water, and planetary habitability.
  36. NASA’s NEAR was the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid and also was the first to land on one. NEAR’s landing on Eros marked the first time a U.S. spacecraft was the first to land on a celestial body, having been beaten by the Soviets in landing on the Moon, Mars, and Venus.
  37. NEEMO – the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations project – is a NASA analog mission that sends groups of astronauts, engineers and scientists to live in Aquarius, the world’s only undersea research station, for up to three weeks at a time.
  38. The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft traveled to a near-Earth asteroid called Bennu. The mission will help scientists investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.
  39. PACE is NASA’s Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystemmission, currently in the design phase of mission development. It is scheduled to launch in 2022, extending and improving NASA’s over 20-year record of satellite observations of global ocean biology, aerosols (tiny particles suspended in the atmosphere), and clouds. PACE will advance the assessment of ocean health by measuring the distribution of phytoplankton, tiny plants and algae that sustain the marine food web. It will also continue systematic records of key atmospheric variables associated with air quality and Earth’s climate.
  40. NASA’s historic Parker Solar Probe mission is revolutionizing our understanding of the Sun, where changing conditions can propagate out into the solar system, affecting Earth and other worlds. Parker Solar Probe travels through the Sun’s atmosphere, closer to the surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions to provide humanity with the closest-ever observations of a star.
  41. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is the next step in the search for planets outside of our solar system, including those that could support life. The mission will find exoplanets that periodically block part of the light from their host stars, events called transits.
  42. SpaceX Crew-2was the second operational flight of a Crew Dragon spacecraft, and the third overall crewed orbital flight of the Commercial Crew Program. SpaceX Crew-2 used the same capsule as Crew Dragon Demo-2 (Endeavour) and launched on the same Falcon 9 booster as SpaceX Crew-1. With its return to Earth the evening of 9 November 2021, the mission set a record for the longest spaceflight by a U.S. crewed spacecraft, 199 days.
  43. Falcon 9 is a partially reusable two-stage-to-orbit medium-lift launch vehicle designed and manufactured by SpaceX in the United States. The latest version of the first stage can return to Earth and be flown again multiple times. Both the first and second stages are powered by SpaceX Merlin engines, using cryogenic liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1) as propellants. Its name is derived from the fictional Star Wars spacecraft, the Millennium Falcon, and the nine Merlin engines of the rocket’s first stage.
  44. Hayabusa was a robotic spacecraft developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to return a sample of material from a small near-Earth asteroid named 25143 Itokawa to Earth for further analysis. Hayabusa, formerly known as MUSES-C for Mu Space Engineering Spacecraft C.
  45. NASA’s solar-powered Juno spacecraft completed closest flyby of Jupiter mysterious cloud tops for the fourth time. All eight of Juno’s science instruments were switched on during the flyby.
  46. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft after studying Saturn, its rings and moons for more than 12 years, has entered in the final year of its epic voyage.

    In its epic voyage, the Cassini spacecraft will make the closest-ever observations of the planet. Beginning November 30, 2016 Cassini will make the closest-ever observations of Saturn. Cassini will be mapping the Saturn’s magnetic and gravity fields with exquisite precision. It will be returning ultra-close views of the Saturn’s atmosphere.

  47. New Shepard is a vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing (VTVL), crew-rated suborbital launch vehicle developed by Blue Origin as a commercial system for suborbital space tourism. Blue Origin is owned and led by Amazon founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos.
  48. VSSUnity, previously referred to as VSS Voyager, is a SpaceShipTwo-class suborbital rocket-powered crewed spaceplane. It is the second SpaceShipTwo to be built and will be used as part of the Virgin Galactic Depending on definition, it first reached space on 13 December 2018.
  49. Known as Pioneer 10, the United States will launch the first satellite aimed at Jupiter, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently announced. Pioneer 10, the 250 kilo scientific probe will take nearly two years to reach its destination. The fastest satellite ever blasted off towards a planet, Pioneer-10 will cover 800,000 kms. a day during the first week of its flight. When it becomes “caught” by the pull of the gravity of Jupiter — 1,000 times more powerful than the earth’s — it will fly over the planet at 79,200 kms. an hour, towards the end of next year. After that, Pioneer-10 will travel indefinitely through the inter-stellar world in a straight line. During the four-day over flight of the yellow-orange, grey-blue planet, It will study Jupiter’s magnetic fields, the atmosphere, and the radiation belts. NASA estimated that these radio-active belts were 1,000,000 times more intense than Van Allen’s rings around the earth. The Pioneer-10 probe will be one of the great “Firsts” in the cosmos, if everything goes according to NASA’s plans. It will give mankind the first-ever information on the hidden face of the planet which is now 800 million kms. from the earth.
  50. What is GEO, MEO and LEO satellites? While GEO satellites are positioned at an altitude of 36,000 km, MEO and LEO are lower at altitudes of 5,000-20,000km and 500-1,200 km, respectively. The altitude of the satellite is directly proportional to the area of earth that it covers. Therefore, the higher a satellite is positioned, the larger an area it covers. GEO and LEO satellites are considered to be the two extremes in satellite communications. While GEO satellites provide a larger coverage and therefore only three satellites can cover the whole earth, hundreds of LEO satellites are needed to provide coverage to a larger area. LEO satellites are smaller and are cheaper to launch than GEOs or MEOs. But the recent incident of SpaceX’s satellites falling out of orbit as a result of the solar flare has put the spotlight on the riskiness of the technology and the threat from the space debris it creates. For MEO satellites, on the other hand, while a simple equatorial orbit covers 96 per cent of the global population, it shares some disadvantages of GEO satellites such as the need for a high inclined antenna for locations away from the equator.

    1. India: GAGAN- Geo Augmented Navigation System

    2. China: BeiDou Navigation Satellite System
    3. United States: Global Post (GPS)
    4. Russia: Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS)
    5. European Union: Galileo
    6. Japan: Quazi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS)

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