As Chandrayaan-3 inches closer to the Moon and history, more than a billion Indians are making preparations to celebrate the touchdown. Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have their fingers crossed as they wait for their hard work to bear fruit.
Even after Chandrayaan-3, the space agency has a long list of upcoming missions aimed at exploring new frontiers in space.
Here is a look at some of ISRO’s upcoming projects:
A Mission To Study Sun
Shortly after its Moonshot, ISRO will turn to the Sun. Aditya L1, the first space based Indian mission to study the Sun, is expected to be launched by early September. Detailing its goals, ISRO has said, “The spacecraft shall be placed in a halo orbit around the Lagrange point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system, which is about 1.5 million km from the Earth. A satellite placed in the halo orbit around the L1 point has the major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation/eclipses. This will provide a greater advantage of observing the solar activities and its effect on space weather in real time.”
NASA-ISRO Earth Observation Satellite
US space agency NASA and ISRO have tied up to put together a powerful Earth Observation Satellite. The satellite is coming together in Bengaluru and is likely to be launched early next year. NISAR – NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar – will track movements of Earth’s land and ice surfaces in extremely fine detail, NASA has said. It will deepen understanding of climate change, deforestation, melting of glaciers, volcanoes and earthquakes. “As NISAR monitors nearly every part of our planet at least once every 12 days, the satellite will also help scientists understand, among other observables, the dynamics of forests, wetlands, and agricultural lands,” NASA has detailed in its website.
First Manned Space Flight
ISRO is working on India’s first human space flight mission, which was earlier scheduled for 2020, but was delayed due to the Covid pandemic. “Gaganyaan project envisages demonstration of human spaceflight capability by launching crew of 3 members to an orbit of 400 km for a 3 days mission and bring them back safely to earth, by landing in Indian sea waters,” ISRO has said. The manned flight will be preceded by two unmanned flights. “We are getting ready for the (first of the two) unmanned crew module mission by the beginning of next year,” an ISRO official has said, according to news agency PTI.
Mission To Study X-Ray Sources
ISRO is working on the country’s first dedicated polarimetry mission to study the dynamics of bright astronomical X-ray sources in extreme conditions. The project is likely to launch later this year of early 2024. “The emission mechanism from various astronomical sources such as blackhole, neutron stars, active galactic nuclei, pulsar wind nebulae etc. originates from complex physical processes and are challenging to understand. The polarimetry measurements add two more dimension to our understanding, the degree of polarisation and the angle of polarisation and thus is an excellent diagnostic tool to understand the emission processes from astronomical sources,” ISRO has said.