NEW DELHI: In a recent announcement, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) confirmed the successful disposal of the cryogenic upper stage of the LVM3 M4 launch vehicle, which played a crucial role in the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft mission on July 14, 2023. While the spacecraft achieved its intended orbit, the cryogenic upper stage re-entered Earth's atmosphere, with ISRO revealing the incident yesterday afternoon.
According to ISRO's official statement, the uncontrollable re-entry occurred within the prescribed 124 days (approximately 6 months) after the launch. The predicted impact point over the North Pacific Ocean ensured that the final ground track did not pass over India, averting potential risks.
Crucially, ISRO emphasized that the post-mission orbital lifetime of the cryogenic upper stage complied with the '25-year rule' recommended by the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) for low-Earth orbit objects. The organization highlighted that the upper stage underwent 'passivation' post-Chandrayaan-3 injection, following space debris mitigation guidelines to minimize explosion risks by removing residual propellant and energy sources.
ISRO's statement reiterated India's commitment to preserving the long-term sustainability of outer space activities by adhering to internationally accepted guidelines. The adherence to these standards showcased ISRO's responsible approach to space exploration.
In a parallel development, ISRO has invited the youth of India to contribute innovative ideas and designs for robotic rovers for future missions. The UR Rao Satellite Centre (URSC)/ISRO is conducting a space robotics challenge aimed at providing development opportunities and leveraging creative thinking among the nation's youth for interplanetary missions.
The challenge invites students to design and realize a 'Wheeled/Legged Rover,' encompassing both hardware and software development. ISRO emphasized that solutions presented in the IRoC-U 2024 challenge have a significant chance of being incorporated into the organization's future interplanetary robotics missions. This move not only fosters technological innovation but also engages the younger generation in the exciting field of space exploration.
In summary, ISRO's successful disposal of the cryogenic upper stage, coupled with its call for innovative rover designs, underscores India's commitment to responsible and forward-looking space exploration.