Uncrewed mission without desi relay satellite
GS Paper - 3 Space Technology
Isro, which has dedicated most of its resources to ensure the uncrewed mission as part of the Gaganyaan programme takes off this year as announced in the union budget, is confident of a December launch even as work on some systems are still ongoing. And, the agency may go ahead with the uncrewed mission without the indigenous data relay satellite and some aspects of the human rating of the systems. But both will be ready much ahead of the launch of humans.
- The Gaganyaan Advisory Council (GAC) that met recently has also advised Isro not to delay the uncrewed mission.
- GAC, the apex panel on Gaganyaan comprises people from various Isro departments, academia, industry, army, navy, IAF, coast guard, DRDO, DST, IISc, IIT-Bombay, all other stakeholders including astronaut Rakesh Sharma, who are contributing to the mission and involved in the operations.
- The GAC met at the end of March and unanimously advised us that the first uncrewed mission must happen at the earliest as it would give us crucial input for the manned mission.
- The relay satellite is required for Gaganyaan, but in case it is not ready by the time we launch the uncrewed mission, we may use another satellite.
- The data relay satellite — Indian Data Relay Satellite System (IDRSS) — are in the 2,000 kg class that will need the GSLV for their launch into GEO.
- As per Isro’s plans, Gaganyaan will be the first beneficiary of the IDRSS, which will be later also used for space-to-space tracking and communication of all space assets.
- Tracking and communication with any spacecraft will need a network of ground stations which will use the relay satellite to stay in touch with the spacecraft so as to ensure a continuous monitoring of all aspects of the spacecraft, including its path.