ISRO Achievements of 2022: The year 2022 was an important one for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) because the space agency conducted its first mission of the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle, completed the first commercial mission of India’s heaviest launch vehicle, and achieved important milestones for the Gaganyaan Programme, among other accomplishments. This year, India’s first high throughput satellite broadband service was launched with ISRO infrastructure. 

ISRO launched India’s first virtual space museum in August. The Indian space agency also launched India’s first privately developed rocket, Vikram-S. Recently, ISRO shared the first images of Earth captured by Earth Observation Satellite OceanSat-3 from space. 

Here are some of the most important feats achieved by ISRO this year. 

December 2022

Hypersonic vehicle trials: On December 9, 2022, ISRO and Headquarters, Integrated Defence Staff, jointly conducted hypersonic vehicle trials. “The trials achieved all required parameters and demonstrated hypersonic vehicle capacity,” ISRO said in a mission update. 

A hypersonic vehicle flies faster than five times the speed of sound, or Mach 5, and can enable a new class of flight vehicles that enable faster access to space, rapid military response at long range, and faster means of commercial air travel, according to an article published in the book, Lightweight Composite Structures in Transport. An aeroplane, missile or spacecraft can serve as a hypersonic vehicle. Rocket boosters can be used to develop a hypersonic vehicle. 

Since a hypersonic engine uses oxygen from the atmosphere, the need to carry oxygen aboard the aircraft is eliminated. This reduces significant vehicle weight. 

In order to produce a particular amount of thrust, the engine requires less than one-seventh the propellant that rockets need. 

In September 2020, India became the fourth country to research and test defence weapons, after China, Russia and the United States.

India has tested a Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) missile that travelled six times faster than the speed of sound. 

Australia, France, Germany and Japan are developing hypersonic weapon technology, and Iran, Israel and South Korea are conducting “foundational research” on hypersonic weapons, according to an article published by Voice of America. 

MoU with Vyom Space: On December 6, 2022, ISRO and the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (INSPACe), an autonomous agency under the Department of Space, Government of India, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a private firm Vyom Space Exploration and Services. The MoU was signed to develop niche technology in the field of space, with special focus on a human and cargo transportation capsule programme. 

ALSO READ | ISRO, INSPACe Sign MoU With Vyom Space To Develop Space Technology With Focus On Human Spaceflight

Vyom Space is being incubated under Joint Services Innovation and Indigenisation Centre, Integrated Defence Staff (IDS). The MoU is intended for joint development of strategic technology in the field of space.

November 2022

First images of Earth captured by OceanSat-3A: In November this year, ISRO shared the first images of Earth captured by OceanSat-3 from space. The first images were received on November 29, at National Remote Sensing Centre, Shadnagar. One of the images was that of Gujarat and its surroundings from space.

OceanSat-3 also captured the Himalayan region, Gujarat Kutch region, and the Arabian Sea.

ALSO SEE | ISRO Shares First Images Of Earth Captured By OceanSat-3 From Space. IN PICS

The images were captured using the Ocean Colour Monitor (OCM) and Sea Surface Temperature Monitor (SSTM) sensors. 

PSLV-C54 Mission: On November 26, 2022, ISRO launched OceanSat-3A along with eight nano-satellites, as part of the PSLV-C54 or EOS-06 mission. OceanSat-3A is also called EOS-06. The other payloads launched were BhutanSat, a Bhutanese satellite, a nano-satellite called Anand, developed by Pixel India, and other nano-satellites developed by Dhruva Space, Astrocast and Spaceflight USA, a Seattle-based aerospace company.

The satellites were launched atop a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), from First Launch Pad, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. 

OceanSat-3A is an Indian satellite designed to provide service continuity for operational users of the Ocean Colour Monitor (OCM) instrument on OceanSat-2, and will facilitate the potential of applications in other areas, according to nextspaceflight.com. The main objectives of the satellite are to study surface winds and ocean surface strata, monitor phytoplankton blooms, study suspended sediments and aerosols in the water, and observe chlorophyll concentrations.

OceanSat-3A, the third flight unit of the OceanSat programme, has a mass of 960 kilograms, operates at 1,360 Watts, and has been placed into a sun-synchronous orbit. 

India’s first private launchpad in ISRO campus: On November 25, 2022, Indian space-tech firm Agnikul Cosmos launched the country’s first private launchpad and mission control centre inside the ISRO campus at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. Agnikul Cosmos, a private aerospace manufacturer, has designed the launchpad, and will operate it.

ALSO READ | Agnikul Cosmos Launches India’s First Private Launchpad In ISRO Campus At Sriharikota

The establishment of India’s first private launchpad marks a significant step in opening the Indian space sector to private players, ISRO says on its website. The facility inside the ISRO campus has a launchpad and mission control centre, the latter being four kilometres away from the launchpad.

Gaganyaan Parachute Test: On November 18, 2022, ISRO successfully completed the Integrated Main Parachute Airdrop Test (IMAT) of Gaganyaan’s crew module deceleration system, marking a significant milestone for the Gaganyaan Programme. The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, where many Gaganyaan activities are being carried out, conducted this major development test at the Babina Field Fire Range (BFFR) in Jhansi district, Uttar Pradesh.

The Gaganyaan Programme aims to demonstrate indigenous capability to undertake human spaceflight missions to low-Earth orbit. 

ALSO READ | ISRO Completes First Parachute Airdrop Test. Know Why It Is A Significant ‘Milestone’ For Gaganyaan Programme

The Parachute system for the Gaganyaan crew module consists of 10 parachutes. During the descent of Gaganyaan astronauts towards Earth in the future, two apex cover separation parachutes will be deployed in the initial stage. These parachutes serve as protection covers for the crew module parachute deployment. After this, two drogue parachutes will be deployed to stabilise the descent and bring down the velocity of the astronauts. 

After the release of drogue parachutes, three pilot chutes will be used to extract three main parachutes individually, ISRO says on its website. This will help reduce the speed of the Gaganyaan crew module to safe levels before landing. Of the three main parachutes, two are sufficient to land the astronauts on Earth. The third parachute is redundant. 

Complex testing methods such as rail track rocket sled (RTRS) will test the performance of the smaller parachutes, and aircraft or helicopters will evaluate the performance of the main parachutes. A rocket sled is a test platform that slides along a set of rails, propelled by rockets, and provides a controlled environment for high-velocity impact, aerodynamic and acceleration tests for articles such as payloads, aircraft and missiles, among others. 

The Integrated Main Parachute Airdrop Test is important because it simulated a scenario in which one main parachute failed to open. This parachute test is the first in a series of tests planned to simulate different failure conditions of the Gaganyaan Parachute system. The system will be deemed qualified to be used in the first human spaceflight mission if all the tests are successful.

In order to conduct the airdrop test, a five-tonne dummy mass, equivalent to the crew module mass, was taken to an altitude of 2.5 kilometres, and dropped using the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) IL-76 aircraft. 

According to ISRO, the fully inflated main parachutes reduced the payload speed to a safe landing speed during the test, which lasted about two to three minutes. The airdrop test was successful, as the payload mass landed softly on the ground.

ISRO and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have designed and developed the parachute-based deceleration system for the Gaganyaan crew module. 

Despite the fact that one of the main parachutes was prevented from opening in this simulated test, the inflated main parachutes successfully landed the payload on the ground. In this way, the first in a series of development tests planned to evaluate the performance of the Gaganyaan parachute system was successful.

Launch of India’s first privately-developed rocket: On November 18, 2022, ISRO launched India’s first privately developed launch vehicle, Vikram-S, as part of the Prarambh mission. Prarambh was the maiden mission of Hyderabad-based space-tech startup Skyroot Aerospace, and received support from ISRO as well as INSPACe.

Vikram-S was successfully launched into space from Sriharikota. The rocket carried three customer payloads, manufactured by Space Kidz India, Bazoom Q Armenia and N-Space Tech India. 

ALSO READ | ISRO Launches India’s First Privately Developed Rocket, Vikram-S, As Part Of Prarambh Mission

Vikram-S was developed in a record time of two years, and was powered by solid fuels. It has cutting-edge avionics and all-carbon fibre core structures. 

Vikram-S has a mass of 345 kilograms, a length of six metres, a diameter of 0.375 metres, a peak vacuum thrust of seven tonnes, can carry payloads weighing up to 83 kilograms to a maximum altitude of 100 kilometres, and has solid rocket boosters that have been 3D-printed to ensure spin stability. 

The successful launch of Prarambh makes Skyroot Aerospace the first private space company in India to launch a rocket into space, marking the beginning of a new era for the Indian space sector, which was opened up for commercialisation in 2020.

Antriksh Jigyasa: In November this year, ISRO launched a virtual platform called ‘Antriksh Jigyasa’, meaning ‘Space Curiosity”. This is a knowledge portal for exploring space science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and active learning. Antriksh Jigyasa offers self-paced online courses on space science, technology and their applications. 

ALSO READ | ISRO Launches ‘Antriksh Jigyasa’, Virtual Platform For Exploring STEM And Online Courses On Space

Antriksh Jigyasa is open for public access. There is innovative e-learning content on space science, technology and applications on the platform for online learners. There is a section called ‘SkyPicks’, where kids enthusiastic about space can showcase their creativity.

Shiksha Gagan, Space Varta, SkyPicks, SPARK, Antriksh Navachar and Space Quiz are some of the interesting components of Antriksh Jigyasa.

October 2022

OneWeb India-1 Mission: ISRO successfully launched 36 OneWeb satellites at 12:07 am IST on October 23, 2022. 

The satellites were successfully placed into low-Earth orbit, as part of the OneWeb India-1 mission or LVM3 (Launch Vehicle Mark III) M2 mission. This marks the first commercial mission of LVM3, India’s heaviest launch vehicle, also known as Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mark III). The OneWeb satellites, meant for global connectivity needs, were launched from the Second Launch Pad, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. 

ALSO READ | OneWeb India-1 Mission: Heaviest ISRO Rocket Successfully Launches 36 Satellites Into Orbit. All About It

ISRO completed the first dedicated commercial mission for United Kingdom-based communications company OneWeb withThe OneWeb India-1 mission marks the entry of LVM3 into the global commercial launch service market. 

New Space India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of ISRO. 

OneWeb India-1 mission carried a payload mass of 5,796 kilograms, the heaviest for any ISRO mission to date. 

The 36 OneWeb satellites have been placed into a low-Earth orbit, at an altitude of 1,200 kilometres above Earth. LVM3 has three stages and a height of 43.5 metres. The launch vehicle is a catalyst for the Indian Space Programme, because it will ensure the launch of heavy payloads into low-Earth orbit.

September 2022

Hybrid motor test: The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre successfully test-fired a hybrid motor at the ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu, on September 20, 2022.

The test-fire was supported by the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), a research and development centre functioning under ISRO. A hybrid motor, unlike solid-solid or liquid-liquid combinations, uses solid fuel and liquid oxidizer. The 30 kilonewton hybrid motor tested by ISRO used Hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) as the solid fuel, and liquid oxygen as the oxidizer, which are compounds readily reacting with most organic material without any energy input. 

ALSO READ | ISRO Successfully Test-Fires Hybrid Motor. Know Its Importance

ISRO’s test of the 30 kilonewton hybrid motor demonstrated ignition and sustained combustion for the intended duration of 15 seconds, the Indian space agency said in a mission update. The performance of the hybrid motor was satisfactory.

Launch of HTS broadband service: On September 19, 2022, India’s first High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) broadband service was launched with support from ISRO. Hughes Communications India Private Limited (HCI) announced the commercial launch of the HTS service at an event held in Le Meridien Hotel, New Delhi. 

“HTS means High-Throughput Satellite. It is a technology which takes a frequency and multiplies it many times,” Shivaji Chatterjee, Executive Vice President, Hughes Communications India, told ABP Live.

ALSO READ | India’s First High Throughput Satellite Broadband Service Launched With ISRO Infrastructure

“Instead of one bandwidth per frequency, HTS enables you to get five to 15 times bandwidth per frequency. So it is a frequency multiplication and reuse, which then gives more bandwidth, and enables a better user experience and throughput,” he added.

Chaterjee explained that HTS provides much more bandwidth, lower-cost bandwidth, and a much higher user experience.

“HTS provides much more bandwidth. It provides much lower-cost bandwidth, and it provides a much higher user experience, because from a kbps service, it goes to multi-megabit service,” he said.

August 2022

India’s first virtual space museum: On August 10, ISRO unveiled ‘SPARK’, India’s first virtual space museum, as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebration. 

S Somanath, chairman of ISRO, launched the virtual space museum for public use. SPARK showcases digital content related to different ISRO missions in an interactive manner.

On the platform, one can see various documents, images, and videos related to ISRO launch vehicles, satellites, and scientific machines, according to the official website of the Indian space agency. 

ALSO READ | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav: ISRO Unveils ‘SPARK’, India’s First Virtual Space Museum

The beta version of the platform provides a virtual tour of SPARK. One can virtually board a bus called Space on Wheels. In April 2022, ISRO shared a documentary titled “Space on Wheels”, which portrays an exhibition of 75 Indian satellites as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. The documentary also highlights ISRO’s upcoming missions including the Gaganyaan Programme and Chandrayaan-3 mission. 

The three-dimensional virtual space tech park is a fun-filled park that includes a museum, a theatre, an observatory, a garden with life-sized rockets, a lakeside cafe area, a children’s play area, and several other attractions. 

There is a Solar System park in which the sizes of the different planets, from Mercury to Neptune, and that of Earth’s Moon have been displayed.

Test of Gaganyaan’s Crew Escape System: On August 10, 2022, ISRO achieved an important milestone in the Gaganyaan Project. ISRO conducted a successful test-fire of the Low Altitude Escape Motor (LEM) of the Crew Escape System (CES), which will take the Gaganyaan crew module away from the launch vehicle in case any mishap occurs during the actual mission.

ALSO READ | ISRO Achieves Important Milestone In Gaganyaan Project Through Successful Test Of Escape Motor

Thus, the purpose of the CES is to rescue astronauts.

SSLV-D1 Mission: On August 7, 2022, ISRO launched the maiden flight of its smallest launch vehicle. The Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) took flight from First Launch Pad, Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The mission, called SSLV-D1, was the first developmental flight of the launch vehicle. 

The primary payload of SSLV was an Earth Observation Satellite called Microsat 2A or EOS-02. A satellite named AzaadiSAT was also launched into space as a co-passenger on SSLV.

However, SSLV failed to place Microsat 2A and AzaadiSAT into the intended circular orbit. As a result, the satellites are no longer usable, ISRO said in a mission update. 

SSLV-D1 was supposed to place the two satellites into a 356-kilometre circular orbit. However, the satellites were instead placed into a 356 km × 76 km elliptical orbit. 

ISRO said that the space agency will soon launch SSLV-D2, the second flight of SSLV. 

July 2022

Space tourism capabilities: Union Minister of Science and Technology, Jitendra Singh, said in July that ISRO is developing indigenous capabilities towards space tourism through the demonstration of human spaceflight capability to low-Earth orbit (LEO). INSPACe also seeks to actively promote participation of the private sector in conducting end-to-end space activities, Singh further said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha Thursday. These end-to-end space activities include space tourism as well, according to a statement released by the Department of Space, Union Ministry of Science and Technology.

June 2022

PSLV-C53 Mission: On June 30, 2022, ISRO launched the DS-EO satellite and two other co-passenger satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The launch took place from the Second Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre. 

The mission, called PSLV-C53, is the second dedicated commercial mission of NSIL. The DS-EO satellite, along with two other co-passenger satellites from Singapore, were placed into low-Earth orbit.

The mission proposes to demonstrate the utilisation of the spent upper stage of the launch vehicle as a stabilised platform for scientific payloads following the separation of the satellites.

PSLV-C53 is the 55th mission of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the 15th mission using the PSLV-Core Alone variant. 

PSLV-C53 is a four-stage and 44.4 metre-tall rocket with a lift-off mass of 228.433 tonnes.

GSAT-24 Mission: On June 22, 2022, NSIL launched the GSAT-24 satellite, a 24-Ku bNd communication satellite weighing 4,180 kilograms with Pan India coverage for meeting Direct-to-home  (DTH) application needs, atop the Ariane-V rocket, from Kourou, French Guiana. GSAT-24 is built by ISRO.

May 2022

Static test of human-rated rocket booster for Gaganyaan: On May 13, 2022, ISRO successfully completed the static test of a human-rated solid rocket booster for the Gaganyaan Programme, at Satish Dhawan Space Centre. The booster, called HS200, is the human-rated version of the S200 rocket booster of LVM3.

HS200 will be the first stage of the launch vehicle that will carry Indian astronauts to space as part of the Gaganyaan Programme. Therefore, the successful completion of the static test of the rocket booster is an important milestone for Gaganyaan. 

LVM3 will be used for the Gaganyaan mission. In order to make the launch vehicle suitable for a crewed mission, some design improvements were made to increase the safety and reliability of the S200 booster. 

The HS200 booster, loaded with solid propellant weighing 203 tonnes, was tested for a duration of 135 seconds. The booster is 20 metres long, and has a diameter of 3.2 metres. It is the world’s second-largest operational booster with a solid propellant, according to ISRO. 

The space agency monitored about 700 parameters during the test. The performance of all the systems was observed to be normal. 

April 2022

‘Space on Wheels’ documentary: In April this year, ISRO recently shared a documentary titled “Space on Wheels”, which portrays an exhibition on 75 Indian satellites as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. The documentary also highlights ISRO’s upcoming missions including the Gaganyaan Programme and Chandrayaan-3 mission. 

ALSO READ | Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav: ISRO ‘Space On Wheels’ Chronicles 75 Satellites Launched Under Indian Space Programme

Since the inception of the Indian space programme, ISRO has designed and developed satellites for a wide variety of applications, such as communication, meteorology, Earth observation, space science, and navigation.

April 2022

Chandrayaan-2 identified impact site of rocket on Moon: A rocket body collided with the Moon on March 4 this year. The object was observed to be heading toward a lunar collision last year. 

The rocket body has left behind a “double crater”, indicating that it was not the average rocket, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has found.

 

In April 2022, the Terrain Mapping Camera-2 (TMC-2) onboard ISRO's Chandrayaan-2 imaged the far side of the Moon, and identified the impact site of a rocket that collided with Earth's natural satellite. (Image source: ISRO)
In April 2022, the Terrain Mapping Camera-2 (TMC-2) onboard ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 imaged the far side of the Moon, and identified the impact site of a rocket that collided with Earth’s natural satellite. (Image source: ISRO)

In April 2022, the Terrain Mapping Camera-2 (TMC-2) onboard ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 imaged the far side of the Moon, and identified the impact site. 

March 2022

Govt nod to build ISRO’s second launch pad: In March this year, former ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan said the central government and Tamil Nadu government have given permission to ISRO to acquire land in Kulasekharapatnam, Tamil Nadu, where the space agency plans to launch its second launch pad, news agency ANI reported. 

He also said that soon, ISRO will be able to confirm the launch of Chandrayaan-3.

Sivan said Chandrayaan-2 was the most complex mission conducted by ISRO so far. He also said that the main objective of the Gaganyaan mission is to take an Indian citizen to space on an Indian rocket from the Indian soil, and that a crew of three members will be launched to an orbit of 400 kilometres for a three-day mission. They will be brought back safely to Earth, and made to splash down in Indian waters. 

February 2022

PSLV-C52 Mission: On February 14, ISRO successfully launched its first mission of the year, the PSLV-C52 mission. India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C52 injected Earth Observation Satellite EOS-04 into an intended sun-synchronous polar orbit of 529 kilometres. The satellites were launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre. This was the 80th launch vehicle mission from that space centre, and the 54th flight conducted by PSLV. 

Apart from EOS-04, PSLV carried two small satellites as co-passengers. 

January 2022

New Chairman of ISRO appointed: On January 14, 2022, senior rocket scientist S Somanath became the new Chairman of ISRO, and Secretary of the Department of Space.

ALSO READ | S Somanath Is New ISRO Chief — 16 Things To Know About The Rocket Scientist To Head Space Agency

Somanath is an expert in a host of disciplines including launch vehicle design and has specialised in launch vehicle systems engineering, structural design, structural dynamics, integration designs and procedures, and mechanism design, according to ISRO.



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