The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is justifiably basking in the global acclaim of its Mars spacecraft completing one full year on Thursday, even as it is set to cross half century mark in launching foreign satellites soon. Till date, India has commercially launched 45 satellites for other countries, and it is gearing up to launch six more foreign satellites by next week. On September 28, a PSLV rocket is scheduled to soar into orbit to position the country’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory ASTROSAT, as well as four satellites of the US and one each from Indonesia and Cada. Over the next five years, ASTROSAT will observe the universe through optical, ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray components of the electromagnetic spectrum, which is expected to help in understanding the universe. As for Mangalyaan, it has already completed 120 orbits around Mars in one full year, sending back stunning images of the Red Planet. Pronounced a hundred per cent success, Mangalyaan has enough fuel to move in the Martian orbit for 15 years more. The fact that India fast-tracked its Mars mission by putting Mangalyaan in orbit within 18 months of its inception, and at the unbelievably low expense of Rs 450 crores with no cost or time overruns — has set a benchmark other countries will struggle to emulate. As of now, India is in the exclusive Mars club with US, Russia and the European Union. Interestingly, the ISRO is now leveraging the resounding success of its Mars mission to get a better look at the Moon with the Chandrayaan-2 mission, planned to have an orbiter, lander and rover to study the lur surface and atmosphere. The mission is expected to go full steam once the technology of ISRO’s cryogenic engine matures sufficiently, which will be at the heart of its heavy-duty GSLV launcher. With the latest four successful launches of the GSLV rocket, ISRO is right on course in its journey to space.
Milestones for ISRO