Indian Space Achievements in 2018

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Discovery of Sub-Saturn like Planet

A team of scientists and engineers led by Prof. Abhijit Chakraborty of the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, have discovered a sub-Saturn or super-Neptune size planet (mass of about 27 Earth Mass and size of 6 Earth Radii) around a Sun-like star. The planet will be known as EPIC 211945201b or K2-236b. With this discovery, India has joined a handful of countries, which have discovered planets around stars beyond our solar system. Further, PARAS is the first of its kind spectrograph in Asia, which can measure the mass of a planet going around a star. Very few spectrographs exist around the world that can make such precise measurements. The discovery was made by measuring the mass of the planet using the indigenously designed "PRL Advance Radial-velocity Abu-sky Search" (PARAS) spectrograph integrated with 1.2 m Telescope at PRL's Gurushikhar Observatory in Mount Abu, India.

Gaganyaan Programme

The Union Cabinet has approved Rs 10,000 crore 'Gaganyaan Programme' that envisages two unmanned and one manned flight to space. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "three Indian astronauts will be sent to space for up to seven days by 2022". The total fund requirement for the Gaganyaan Programme is within Rs 10,000 crore and includes the cost of technology development, flight hardware realisation and essential infrastructure elements.

On July 5, 2018, ISRO carried out a major technology demonstration in a series of tests to qualify a Crew Escape System, which is a critical technology relevant for human spaceflight. The Crew Escape System is an emergency escape measure designed to quickly pull the crew module along with the astronauts to a safe distance from the launch vehicle in the event of a launch abort. The first test (Pad Abort Test) demonstrated the safe recovery of the crew module in case of any exigency at the launch pad.


On December 19, 2018, a 2,250 kg communications satellite, GSAT-7A, was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. This satellite from ISRO will aid communication for Indian military. The launch is the last this year, according to Dr K. Sivan, Chairman of ISRO, and Secretary of Department of Space. This is a dedicated mission for updating and increasing the capability of the country's defence forces. The GSLV F11 carried the 2250 kilogram GSAT-7A from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. The GSAT- 7A is ISRO's 35th communication satellite and a third mission in just 35 days.

GSAT -11

ISRO’s heaviest communication satellite GSAT-11 launched successfully from French Guiana on December 5, 2018. The 5854-kg GSAT-11 will provide high data rate connectivity to users of Indian mainland and islands through 32 user beams in Ku-band and 8 hub beams in Ka-band. GSAT-11 will boost the broadband connectivity to rural and inaccessible Gram Panchayats in the country coming under the Bharat Net Project, which is part of Digital India Programme.


On November 29, 2018, ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C43) successfully launched 31 satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota. The PSLV-C43 injected India’s Hyper-Spectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS) into the 645 km sun-synchronous polar orbit. The 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 primary goal of HysIS is to study the earth’s surface in both the visible, near infrared and shortwave infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. It had the company of one micro and 29 nano-satellites from eight countries, including Australia, Canada, Columbia, Finland, Malaysia, Netherlands, Spain and 23 from the USA. The total weight of these satellites was about 261.50 kg. Satellites from Australia, Columbia, Malaysia and Spain were flown aboard PSLV for the first time. These foreign satellites launched are part of commercial arrangements between Antrix Corporation Limited and customers.

GSAT – 29

The GSAT-29 communication satellite was successfully launched on November 14, 2018 by the second developmental flight of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MarkIII (GSLV MkIII-D2) on Wednesday from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. GSAT-29 is a multiband, multi-beam communication satellite, intended to serve as test bed for several new and critical technologies. The success of GSLV MkIII-D2 marks an important milestone in Indian space programme towards achieving self-reliance in launching heavier satellites. The success of this flight also signifies the completion of the experimental phase of GSLV Mark III.


In its forty third flight, ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C41 successfully launched the 1425 kg IRNSS-1I Navigation Satellite on April 12, 2018, from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. IRNSS-1I is the latest member of the ‘Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC)’ system.  NavIC, also known as Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland.

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C42) on September 16, 2018 successfully launched two satellites -- NovaSAR and S1-4 -- from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. The satellites belong to UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology Limited.


On Mar 29, 2018, India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F08) successfully launched GSAT-6A Satellite into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). This launch of GSLV was its 12th and took place from the Second Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. This is the fifth consecutive success achieved by GSLV carrying indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage. The GSAT-6A is a communication satellite built by ISRO to provide mobile communication services through multi beam coverage.

Cartosat -2

On Jan 12, 2018, ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C40), in its forty second flight, successfully launched the 710 kg Cartosat-2 Series Remote Sensing Satellite along with 30 co-passenger satellites from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota.

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Posted By : ScienceIndia Administrator
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