17 July:ISRO is nearing the completion of the development of the first mission to the Moon, named Chandrayaan-1. The launch was expected in the first week of July 2008. It will be India’s first step towards exploration of deep space.
In 2005 the Indian government approved Rs.364 crore (3,640,000,000) Indian rupees for the planned moon mission expected to be launched by 2008. Apart from ISRO made instruments, Chandrayaan carries science instruments from NASA and ESA as opportunity payloads free of cost and with the understanding of sharing the data from the instruments. If the mission goes as planned, ISRO would be the sixth space agency in the world, after the Soviet Union, NASA, Japan, European Space Agency and China, to have sent an unmanned mission to the Moon.
ISRO is also planning a second version of Chandrayaan named Chandrayaan-2. According to the ISRO Chairman G. Madhavan Nair, "The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) hopes to land a motorised rover on the moon in 2010 or 2011, as a part of its second Chandrayaan mission". An agreement for this mission was signed with Russia’s Federal Space Agency recently. According to the release on ISRO’s website, ISRO will have the prime responsibility for the Orbiter and Roskosmos will be responsible for the Lander/Rover. An orbiter to Mars is also under discussion, though no concrete funding decisions for such a mission have been made yet.
ISRO also plans to undertake a totally indigenous manned space exploration in the next decade by planning to send a person to space by 2014.Some technologies needed for a manned mission are already under development and ISRO has already setup a Deep Space Network in Byalalu village near Bangalore. Indian Deep Space Network comprises mainly of two powerful dish antennas measuring 32-metre and 18-metre diameter to track all its future space missions. A third antenna measuring 11-meter diameter will be also erected for ASTROSAT mission.
ISRO has started the development of the next launch vehicle version, known as the GSLV Mark-III, with an indigenous cryogenic engine capable of launching satellites weighing up to 6 tons in the final configuration. ISRO will be launching various satellites for European and Russian space programs including Agile and the GLONASS series of navigation satellites. In December 2005, during the annual Indo-Russian summit in Moscow, the two states agreed on joint development of the GLONASS-K series, which will be launched by Indian launchers. ISRO also plans to launch payloads SRE-1, RISAT-1, ASTROSAT, OCEANSAT series, INSAT series, CARTOSAT series, and GSAT series over the next couple of years. The RLV-TD, a technology demonstrator of possible scramjet launch technology, will fly around 2008. ISRO’s most advance earth observation satellite under-development is CARTOSAT-3, which will have a resolution of 0.30 metre.
The ISRO decade plan includes the following launch schedule:
2006-2007 – Three GSLV launches, (GSLV-D3, F2, F3). Launch of OCEANSAT-2, GSAT-4, INSAT-4D.
2007-2008 – Three PSLV launches, (PSLV-C9, C10, C11), two GSLV launches (GSLV-F4, F5), and one GSLV-III launch (GSLV-III-D1). Launch of CHANDRAYAAN, ASTROSAT, RISAT-1, GSAT (MK III), INSAT-3D and INSAT-4E.
2006-2012 – Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS)
This diagram shows the approximate sizes of a human, some of the Rohini series of sounding rockets, and the satellite launch vehicles PSLV-CAThe Satellite Launch Vehicle was mainly used for the launching of experimental Rohini Satellites, and was a technology bridge. The Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle was mainly used for the launching of Stretched Rohini Satellite Series (SROSS) satellites, and also served as a technology bridge. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle serves as a small-medium satellite launching workhorse for the ISRO. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle serves as a medium lifter. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III will be a medium-heavy lifter. The Reusable Launch Vehicle project is intended as a cheap way of launching small satellites.
Satellite launch vehicles
Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV) – an all-solid four-stage satellite launch vehicle. The SLV can place 40 kg into low earth orbit.
Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) – an all-solid five-stage satellite launch vehicle. The ASLV can place 150 kg into low earth orbit.
Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) – a four-stage rocket with liquid and solid stages. The PSLV can place 1600 kg into polar sun synchronous orbit.
Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark I/II (GSLV-I/II) – a three-stage rocket with solid, liquid and cryo stages. The GSLV can place 2200 kg into geostationary transfer orbit.