GOVERNMENT MISSIONS USING SPACE TECHNOLOGY
GOVERNMENT MISSIONS USING SPACE TECHNOLOGY
Integrated Mission for Sustainable Development (IMSD)
Under IMSD, locale-specific action plans for sustainable development of land and water resources are generated on a watershed basis, integrating thematic information generated using satellite data with collateral/conventional information and socioeconomic inputs. The action plans are basically recommendations for improved water conservation for ensuring enhanced productivity while maintaining the ecological/ environmental integrity of the area/region. The action plans, to illustrate, address identification of sites/areas for surface water harvest groundwater recharge, soil conservation measures – through check dams, vegetation bunding; sites/recommendations for improved/diversified farming systems with fodder, fuel wood plantations, agroforestry, agro-horticulture, etc. These action plans are generated by the joint involvement with the respective Government departments, State Remote Sensing Centres, universities, private entrepreneurs and NGOs.
National (Natural) Resources Information System (NRIS)
NRIS forms the core information system for the NNRMS and is oriented to aid decision-makers at national, regional, state and district levels to plan various developmental activities in a scientific, systematic, timely and optimum manner. The NRIS provides spatial databases of spatial (thematic) and non-spatial data with GIS solutions for decision making. It is organised in an interlinked/networked hierarchy so as to cater to the free flow of resources and information. This venture has set a new trend amongst State-level missionaries to have organised natural resources databases at the district level.
A major project has been taken up for Biodiversity Characterisation at Landscape Level to prepare Biological zone maps and establishment of disturbance gradient for important bio-diversity-rich areas of the country using remote sensing and GIS. RRSSCs are actively involved in the project both in database creation and providing software solutions under image processing and GIS domain. The project is aimed at prioritising areas for bioprospecting and conservation.
Agro-climatic Planning and Information Bank (APIB)
A pilot project on APIB in Karnataka State (in South India) has been ongoing for consolidating the large amount of statistical and spatial information generated by various organisations and to create a single-window knowledge base for agricultural development. The purpose is to provide area-specific information on all aspects of farm management that can be implemented by the farmer himself. This bank is not only an information or data bank but also a facilitator by providing the users with the tools required for preparing developmental plans.
Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission
This is a national mission with the objective of creating a scientific database for groundwater using remote sensing technology. RRSSCs are involved in the generation of precision products and ground water prospect maps at a 1:50,000 scale for the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Crop Acreage and Production Estimation
This is an important national mission wherein remote sensing techniques are used in providing pre-harvest estimates on crop acreage for major crops in various states in the country. RRSSCs have been actively involved with Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad in providing software solutions through a package “CAPEWORKS”. The package is operationally being used in all ISRO work centres and various State remote sensing centres regularly during the cropping seasons to derive the necessary information related to crop acreage.
Watershed Related Studies
RRSSCs are actively involved in watershed development-related studies in the country. IMSD project has paved the way for the scientific approach for planning and implementation of certain action plans to improve the land productivity and water resources in a given watershed. RRSSCs are actively involved at the national level in monitoring/evaluation of watersheds treated under the NWDPRA scheme using multi-temporal remote sensing data. Methodology for operationally executing such a project was developed within RRSSCs on a pilot mode and the same has been operationally utilised for the project.
Disaster Management System – Flood Damage Assessment
RRSSC Kharagpur, one of the regional centres, is well located to provide quick information related to flood and cyclone-related disasters. The centre is actively involved in generating such information using remote sensing and GIS techniques. RRSSC is actively involved in creating digital databases for the flood-prone region of Assam and developing an information system for decision-making for the effective management of disasters. The methodology can be replicated for other flood-affected areas in due course of time.
Study of Potential and Actual area Under Sericulture Through Remote Sensing
Remote sensing techniques have been proved to be useful in studies related to sericulture which basically refers to the identification of mulberry growing areas. The technique has proved to be very successful and cost-effective in the country. RRSSCs are currently involved in a national mission on the project.
PART B: MISSION TO MOON AND MARS
INDIA’S MOON MISSION
The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO’s) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C11, successfully launched the 1380 kg Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft into a transfer orbit with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 255 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 22,860 km. Launched on October 22, by PSLV-C11, the Chandrayaan-1 put India in an elite lunar club comprising Russia, US, Japan, China and European Space Agency.
The Chandrayaan-1 mission intends to put an unmanned spacecraft into an orbit around the moon and to perform remote sensing of the nearest celestial neighbour for about two years with eleven payloads.
The mission started with the ignition of the core first stage. The important flight events included the separation of the first stage, ignition of the second stage, separation of the payload fairing at about 116 km altitude after the vehicle had cleared the dense atmosphere, second stage separation, third stage ignition, third stage sepal P fourth stage ignition and fourth stage cut-off.
Launch Vehicle: PSLV-C11 is the upgraded version of ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in its standard configuration. Weighing 320 tonnes at lift-off, the vehicle uses larger strap-on motors (PSOM-XL) to achieve higher payload capability. PSOM-XL uses 12 tonnes of solid propellants instead of 9 tonnes used in the earlier configuration of PSLV. PSLV is a four-stage launch vehicle employing both solid and liquid propulsion stages. PSLV is the trusted workhorse launch Vehicle of ISRO.
- The Primary Objectives of Chandrayaan-1 are:
- To place an unmanned spacecraft in an orbit around the moon
- To conduct mineralogical and chemical mapping of the lunar surface
- To upgrade the technological base in the country
Chandrayaan-1 aims to achieve these well-defined objectives through high-resolution remote sensing of the moon in the visible, near-infrared, microwave and X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. With this, the preparation of a 3-dimensional atlas of the lunar surface and chemical and mineralogical mapping of the entire lunar surface is envisaged.
PSLV placed the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft into a highly elliptical Transfer Orbit (TO) around the earth. Later, through a series of highly complex manoeuvres, the desired trajectories will be achieved. After circling the Earth in its Transfer Orbit, the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft will be taken into more elliptical ‘Extended Transfer Orbits’ by repeatedly firing its Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) in a pr-determined sequence. Subsequently, the LAM is again fired to make the spacecraft to travel to the vicinity of the moon.
Specific Areas of Study
High-resolution mineralogical and chemical imaging of permanently shadowed north and south polar regions
Search for surface or sub-surface water-ice on the moon, especially at the lunar pole
Identification of chemical end members of lunar high land rocks
Chemical stratigraphy of the lunar crust by remote sensing of the central upland of large lunar craters, south pole Aitken Region (SPAR) etc, where interior material may be expected
To map that height variation of the lunar surface features along the satellite track.
Observation of X-ray spectrum greater than 10 keV and stereographic overage of most of the moon’s surface with 5m resolution to provide new insights in understanding the moon’s origin and evolution.
The Spacecraft: Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft weighed about 1380 kg at the time of its launch and is a 1.5m cuboid with a solar panel projecting from one of its sides. The spacecraft is powered by a single solar panel generating electrical power of 700 W. A Lithium-ion battery supplies power when the solar panel is not illuminated by the sun. To make the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft travel towards the Moon, its Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) is used Liquid propellants are needed for LAM as well as thrusters are stored onboard the spacecraft. Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft’s Dual Gimballed Antenna transmits the scientific data gathered by its eleven scientific instruments to Earth.
The Ground Segment: The Ground facilities of Chandrayaan-1 perform the important task of receiving health information as well as the scientific data from the spacecraft. It also transmits the radio commands to be sent to the spacecraft during all the phases of its mission. Besides, it processes and stores the scientific data sent by the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.
ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) had a lead role in establishing the Ground Segment of Chandrayaan-1 with contributions from ISAC and SAC. The Ground Segment of Chandrayaan-1 consists of:
- Indian Deep Space Network (I DSN)
- Spacecraft Control Centre (SCC)
- Indian Space Science Data Centre (ISSDC) J
The Indian Deep Space Network receives the data sent by the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. Besides, it sends commands to the spacecraft at a power level of up to 20 kilowatts. I DSN consists of two large parabolic antennas, – one with 18 m diameter and the other 32 m diameter – at Byalalu, situated at a distance of about 35 km from Bangalore. Of these the 32 m antenna with its ‘seven mirror beam waveguide system’, was indigenously designed developed, built, installed, tested and qualified. The 18 m antennae can support the Chandrayaan-1 mission, but the 32m antenna can support spacecraft missions well beyond Moon.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning 2nd moon mission Chandrayaan-2 in 2011. Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) is joining with ISRO for the development of the Chandrayaan-2 Lander/Rover. Chandrayaan-2 will consist of the spacecraft and a landing platform with the moon rover. The rover would move on wheels on the lunar surface, pick up samples of soil or rocks, do a chemical analysis and send the data to the spacecraft orbiting above. The rover will weigh between 30 kg and 100 kg, depending on whether it is to do a semi-hard landing or soft landing. The rover will have an operating lifespan of a month. It will run predominantly on solar power.
Moon Rover: Chandrayaan-2 will have a unique robot developed indigenously by student-engineers and their professors at the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur. The ‘Smartnav’ robot being developed for the ISRO will help space scientists to navigate the moon’s surface during the manned moon mission and provide real-time data and pictures of the surface there. The two-legged robot, fitted with sophisticated sensors and high-resolution cameras, is capable of recording information and images using laser beams. The rover will weigh between 30 kg and 100 kg depending on whether it is to do a semi-hard landing or soft landing. The rover will have an operating lifespan of a tow or three months, its engineers will configure the vehicle and its instruments including a battery back-up to go into allow-power mode, with the rover waking up when sunlight streams through. When the sunlight comes, the solar-powered battery cells will be re-charged and the equipment will be switched on one by one for the rover to function for another two weeks.
The rover would move on wheels on the lunar surface pick up samples of soil or rocks, do a chemical analysis and send the data to the spacecraft orbiting above. The rover will weigh between 30kg and 100 kg depending on whether it is to do a semi-hard landing or soft landing. The rover will have an operating lifespan of a month. It will run predominantly on solar power. Chandrayaan-2 will consist of the spacecraft and a landing platform with the moon rover. The platform with the rover will detach itself after the spacecraft reaches its orbit above the moon, and land on the lunar, A motorized rover will be released on the moon’s surface from the lander. The location of the lander will be identified using data from Chandrayaan-1 payload MIP. In Chandrayaan-1, MIP will detach itself from the spacecraft and it will impact on the moon’s surface. The MIP will have three instruments. Annadurai, its mass spectrometer will sense the moon’s atmospheric constituents as it keeps falling for 18 minutes and crashes on the moon, Its video imaging system will look at eh moon from close proximity in order that ISRO scientists may take decisions on the terrain where it will land.
- Design, development and demonstration of technologies required for impacting a probe at a desired location on the moon.
- Qualify technologies required for future soft landing missions.
- Exploration of the moon from close range.
Payload Configuration Details
There will be three major payloads in the Moon Impact Probe-
- Radar Altimeter: For measurement of the altitude of the Moon Impact Probe above the lunar surface and qualify technologies for future landing missions.
- Video imaging system: For acquiring images of the surface of the moon from the descending probe. The video imaging system consists of an analogue CCD camera along with a video decoder
- Mass Spectrometer: A state-of-the-art Quadrupole mass spectrometer with a mass resolution of 0.5 amu and sensitive to the partial pressure of the order of 10-15 torr for measuring the constituents of the tenuous lunar atmosphere during descent.
- The dimension of the impact probe is 375 mm x 375 mm x 470 mm.