With the successful launch of PSL001V-C30 carrying six foreign customer satellites (one each from Indonesia and Canada and four nano-satellites from the USA) along with India’s Multi Wavelength Astronomical Observatory ASTROSAT, ISRO crossed the 50 international customer satellite launch mark. All the 51 satellites from abroad launched by India so far have been placed in orbit by India’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). During 1994-2015 period, PSLV has launched a total of 84 satellites of which 51 are for international customers.

Though PSLV was designed to launch Indian remote sensing satellites into polar sun synchronous orbit, the vehicle has repeatedly proved its reliability and versatility by successfully launching satellites into a variety of orbits including polar Sun Synchronous, Geosynchronous Transfer and Low Earth orbits of small inclination, thereby repeatedly proving the robustness of its design.

ISRO offers launch services to the international customers through PSLV. ISRO entered the commercial launch services market by launching KITSAT-3 of Republic of Korea and DLR-TUBSAT of Germany along with IRS-P4 (OCEANSAT) onboard PSLV-C2 on May 26, 1999. So far, International customers satellites from 20 countries (Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and USA) have been successfully launched by PSLV during 15 of its launches.

Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix), incorporated in 1992, a wholly owned Government of India Company under the administrative control of Department of Space (DOS) and the commercial arm of ISRO has already entered into a number of agreements for launching satellites for international customers onboard PSLV. Antrix promotes and commercially exploits the products and services emanating from the Indian Space Programme. In addition to providing launch services for international customer satellites, Antrix provisions communication satellite transponders for broadcasting and telecommunication services, markets data from Indian Remote Sensing(IRS) satellites, builds and markets satellites and satellites subsystems and extends mission support services for satellite launches.

The outlook for commercial launches is promising for ISRO/Antrix with many other proposals from international customers under active discussion and consideration.



India has signed up contracts to launch 23 foreign satellites soon, an official of Antrix Corporation said here on Monday. Antrix Corporation is the commercial arm of Indian space agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
·   ·   ·   ·   India has signed up contracts to launch 23 foreign satellites soon, an official of Antrix Corporation said here on Monday.

Antrix Corporation is the commercial arm of Indian space agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

“Out of 23 foreign satellites, two will go in two separate rockets. The remaining 21 satellites will piggy-back on bigger Indian satellite,” the official told IANS.

He said ISRO would soon be launching six Singapore satellites weighing a total of around 660 kg.

According to him, the bigger of the six is an earth observation satellite, weighing 410 kg. Two are micro-satellites, weighing 130 kg and 80 kg respectively.

The remaining three are nano-satellites, cumulatively weighing 30 kg.

According to the Antrix Corporation official, ISRO will also be launching five small satellites from the US before 2016 as a piggy-back luggage.

Antrix Corporation had signed with US parties to launch nine small satellites, of which four were launched on Monday as a piggy-back luggage with ASTROSAT, India’s first space observatory.

Till date India has launched 51 foreign satellites for a fee.

Addressing the media, ISRO chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said things are changing with the US. “We are having more and more interaction with the US,” Kumar added.

Speaking about forthcoming rocket launches, he said the next polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) rocket launch will be fully commercial.

He said India would be launching communication satellite GSAT-15 using Ariane rocket, a European heavy-lift launch vehicle, this November and two navigation satellites from here.

According to Kumar, all the seven navigation satellites, part of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), would be in place in 2016.

Queried about the status of SAARC satellite announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ISRO chairman said Sri Lanka has given its consent to the configuration.

“It will be a two-tonne satellite with 12 transponders. Each SARRC nation will be given one transponder configured to give the data they need. The satellite will be launched by the end of 2016,” Kumar said.

On the data sent by India’s one-year-old Mars Orbiter, Mangalayan, and the result of the research done on them, the ISRO chief said the data would be shared with interested researchers.

According to him, the Mars Orbiter takes four pictures every two-and-half days and sends them back to ISRO.

On the issue of sourcing fully assembled rocket components by ISRO, Kumar said work has started and it would take around four-and-half years to achieve that.



SRIHARIKOTA: Isro on Monday successfully launched India’s first astronomy satellite Astrosat, eleven years after the government cleared the project.

A Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C30) carrying Astrosat and six other satellites lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 10am.

In around 25 minutes after liftoff, PSLV-C30 injected Astrosat and other satellites — four US nano satellites, a microsatellite from Indonesia a nanosatellite from Canada – into their respective orbits. This is the first time India is launching a US satellite.

Astrosat was placed in an orbit 644.651km from earth, as desired. The satellite achieved an expected inclination of 6.002 degree.

“The mission is successful. It is a well-professed and synchronous efforts.” Satish Dhawan Space Centre director P Kunhikrishnan said after the launch. “It’s a hard earned gift,” he added.


Astrosat, which had a lift-off mass of 1,513kg, will now embark on a five-year astronomy mission studying distant celestial objects.

It will observe the universe in the optical, ultraviolet, low and high energy x-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, compared to most other scientific satellites that are capable of observing a narrow range of wavelength band.

Among its assignments, the five payloads of Astrosat will study star birth regions and black holes.

ISRO’s website lists out the objective of the observatory: to understand high energy processes in binary star systems containing neutron stars and black holes, estimate magnetic fields of neutron stars, study star birth regions and high energy processes in star systems lying beyond our galaxy, detect new briefly bright x-ray sources in the sky and perform limited deep field survey of the universe in the ultraviolet region.

Carrying five payloads, Astrosat is capable of observing the sky in the visible, near ultraviolet (UV) and far UV regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The two telescopes on the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) payload are designed to achieve an excellent image resolution, while the other four payloads have their specific roles.

The other payloads are Large X-Ray Proportional Counter (LAXPC), Soft x-ray Telescope (SXT), Cadmium Zinc Telluride Imager (CZTI) and Charge Particle Monitor (CPM).

The payloads will start working on next Monday, on the eighth day after launch.


The four LEMUR nanosatellites from Spire Global Inc, San Francisco (US), are non-visual remote sensing satellites focusing primarily on global maritime intelligence through vessel tracking via the Automatic Identification System (AIS), and high fidelity weather forecasting using GPS Radio Occultation technology.

Besides these, the PSLV-C30 also launched LAPAN-A2, a microsatellite from the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space-LAPAN, Indonesia, meant for providing maritime surveillance using Automatic Identification System (AIS), supporting Indonesian radio amateur communities for disaster mitigation and carrying out Earth surveillance using video and digital camera.

And the last foreign passenger is the NLS-14 (Ev9), a nanosatellite from Space Flight Laboratory, University of Toronto Institute for Advanced Studies (SFL, UTIAS), Canada. It is a maritime monitoring Nanosatellite using the next generation Automatic Identification System (AIS).


Armed Forces and other security agencies in the country will now have enhanced hazard detection capabilities as the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO’s) indigenous robot Daksh has not just become lighter, faster and rugged, but has also been equipped with Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) hazard detection mechanisms.

Daksh, which has been developed by DRDO’s Pune-based lab Research and Development Establishment, Engineers (R&DE) located in Vishrantwadi, is primarily designed to detect and recover Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). It was inducted in the Indian Army around 2011.

A senior DRDO scientist said, “When Daksh was inducted into the Army, they already had imported Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs). The performance of Daksh has been at par with the imported ones. In some aspects, it is even better. As per our information, as many of 40 IEDs have been neutralised in the insurgency-affected areas in the North-East India with the help of Daksh so far. But from the beginning, we were aware of the limitations of this robot. One of the most important was the speed, another was its weight.”

As per the information given by scientists from the R&DE, the newer version of Daksh is made of aluminium alloy as against the older version, which was made of steel. “The use of new material has not just reduced the weight but has also made it more rugged. Use of custom-made motors has increased the speed by three times as compared to the older version,” said Mridukant Pathak, a scientist with the R&DE.

The new Daksh has been integrated with DRDO’s Unmanned Areal Vehicle (UAV) Netra, and the integrated system is being called CBRN Remotely Operated Platform (ROP). “In case of a radiation hazard, the radiation detection unit fitted on Netra can be flown to the affected area. Netra model being used for this platform has an increased range of four kilometres and double the flying time. The new-age warfare will be way different from the conventional one and we need to have capabilities to detect CBRN attacks. Now that these capabilities are indigenous, we do not have depend on foreign suppliers,” said another DRDO scientist.

“This system will not just be useful for the armed forces, but also the paramilitary forces operating in areas where the nature of conflict is different. There will be demand for this new version of Daksh from the security agencies. The manufacturing of these units will be done by Pune-based Bharat Electronics Ltd and three private companies on the Transfer of Technology (ToT) basis,” said Alok Mukherjee, assistant director of the R&DE.

Jamal Khan, the Commandant of the Institute of IED Management of the Central Reserved Police Force (CRPF) located in Talegaon near Pune said, “The faster, lighter version of the devise will definitely have an added advantage. The enhanced capabilities will certainly be useful in the backdrop of changing nature of warfare in insurgency affected areas, especially with increased threat of dirty bombs, which use radioactive material.”2020


State-run power equipment maker BHEL is bullish on defence manufacturing sector, particularly naval, field guns and sub-marines, which is being opened up and is looking for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for partnership.

Over the years, the company has made significant contributions for naval guns and Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), BHEL Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) B Prasada Rao said at the company’s 51st AGM held here.

The ‘Make in India’ initiative in the defence sector is opening up large opportunities in naval and field guns, sub-marines, etc. BHEL is actively pursuing these opportunities by partnering with global OEMs, he added.

In spite of 2014-15 being an extremely challenging financial year, BHEL secured orders worth Rs 30,814 crore, an increase of 10 per cent over the previous year, in intensely competitive domestic and overseas markets, Rao said.

Despite severe market shrinkage and stiff competition in the power sector, BHEL maintained its leadership position with a market share of 72 per cent for the second consecutive year.

By expanding its offerings, the company secured 89 per cent of its total orders in the power sector on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis.

“At the end of the year, total orders in hand for execution in 2015-16 and beyond, stand at Rs 1,01,018 crore,” he said.

For the third time in a row, BHEL synchronized/ commissioned power projects of more than 10,000 MW in a single year.

Power projects totalling 11,941 MW were commissioned during the year, inclusive of 10,230 MW utility sets, 1,392 MW captive sets/ industrial sets in the country and 319 MW in overseas markets.

“2014-15 marked a turnaround in the Indian hydropower sector with an addition of 736 MW to Central utilities, the highest in a decade. Notably, entire 736 MW of hydroelectric projects were commissioned by BHEL,” Rao said.145


Imagine a battery-powered plane that has 10 engines and can take off like a helicopter and fly efficiently like an aircraft. That is a concept being developed by NASA researchers called Greased Lightning or GL-10.

The team, at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, is looking at the idea initially as a potential unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). “We have a couple of options that this concept could be good for,” said Bill Fredericks, aerospace engineer. “It could be used for small package delivery or vertical take off and landing, long endurance surveillance for agriculture, mapping and other applications. A scaled up version — much larger than what we are testing now — would make also a great one to four person size personal air vehicle.””

The GL-10 is currently in the design and testing phase. The initial thought was to develop a 20-foot wingspan (6.1 meters) aircraft powered by hybrid diesel/electric engines, but the team started with smaller versions for testing, built by rapid prototyping.

“We built 12 prototypes, starting with simple five-pound (2.3 kilograms) foam models and then 25-pound (11.3 kilograms), highly modified fiberglass hobby airplane kits all leading up to the 55-pound (24.9 kilograms), high quality, carbon fiber GL-10 built in our model shop by expert technicians, ” said aerospace engineer David North.

“Each prototype helped us answer technical questions while keeping costs down. We did lose some of the early prototypes to ‘hard landings’ as we learned how to configure the flight control system. But we discovered something from each loss and were able to keep moving forward.”

During a recent spring day the engineers took the GL-10 to test its wings at a military base about two hours away from NASA Langley. The remotely piloted plane has a 10-foot wingspan (3.05 meters), eight electric motors on the wings, two electric motors on the tail and weighs a maximum of 62 pounds (28.1 kilograms) at take off.

It had already passed hover tests — flying like a helicopter — with flying colors. But now was the big hurdle — the transition from vertical to forward “wing-borne” flight. As engineers who have designed full-scale vertical take off and landing tiltrotors such as the V-22 Osprey will tell you — that is no easy task because of the challenging flight aerodynamics.

“During the flight tests we successfully transitioned from hover to wing-borne flight like a conventional airplane then back to hover again. So far we have done this on five flights,” said Fredericks. “We were ecstatic. Now we’re working on our second goal — to demonstrate that this concept is four times more aerodynamically efficient in cruise than a helicopter.”

Zack Johns is the GL-10’s primary pilot. He says flying the ten-engine aircraft has its ups and downs, but it really flies more like a three-engine plane from a control perspective.

“All four engines on the left wing are given the same command,” said Johns. “The four engines on the right wing also work in concert. Then the two on the tail receive the same command.”

One other advantage to the GL-10 besides its versatile vertical take off and landing ability is its noise or lack of it. “It’s pretty quiet,” said Fredericks. “The current prototype is quieter than a neighbor mowing the law with a gas-powered motor.”

The next step in the GL-10 test program is to try to confirm its aerodynamic efficiency, but first is a stop at the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International 2015 conference in Atlanta May 4-7. The GL-10 will be the centerpiece of an exhibit showcasing some of NASA Langley’s UAV research.

Part of that UAV research is for NASA Aeronautics’ Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration in the National Airspace System Project, led out of the Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. Engineers from Armstrong will highlight project accomplishments and upcoming work in a booth in Atlanta. The goal of the project is to provide research results to reduce the technical barriers associated with integrating unmanned aerial vehicles into the skies.

Researchers from the Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia will also be at the conference, highlighting unmanned aircraft for use in science missions. “Remotely piloted aircraft are enhancing NASA science investigations and serve as a platform to expand technology development for aircraft, cubesats and other platforms,” said Wallops Director’s Office official Mike Hitch.



VISAKHAPATNAM: Indian Space Research Organisation is moving forward with the development of heavy lift launchers and reusable launch vehicles with its main focus being the low cost access to space, its chairman A S Kiran Kumar said here today.

“ISRO is developing heavy lift launchers, reusable launch vehicles, cryogenic engines and is mainly concentrating on low cost access to space,” Kumar said.

He was addressing as the chief guest the 6th convocation ceremony at Gandhi Institute of Technology and Management, commonly known as GITAM University.

Kumar said the recent success of the Mars Orbiter Mission was a result of a tremendous team effort and innovative use of limited resources to achieve defined goals.

“Advances in satellite remote sensing, global navigation satellite systems and geographic information system are now making it easier to integrate ecological, environmental and other information for developing predictive models that can be used in the surveillance and control of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever,” the space scientist said.

He observed that use of technology in tackling social issues and empowering disadvantaged groups still remains significantly under-explored.

Appealing for environment-friendly lifestyle, Kumar said, “The society must concentrate to green their lifestyle (sic) and lessen the negative impact of technology on natural environment.”

He asked the students to innovate and develop techniques which can play a key role in development of nation without having any adverse impact on environment.

Kumar also appealed to students to explore alternate energy sources so as to cut down the need for mega scale generation and distribution systems.

On the occasion, Kumar and Satyanarayana Chava, CEO of Laurus Labs Pvt Ltd, were bestowed upon the honorary degree of doctor of science (DSc) by the university chancellor K Ramakrishna Rao.

The honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (D Litt) was presented to former cricketer VVS Laxman and noted playback singer and musician K Srinivasa Rao (Vande Mataram Srinivas).

The Distinguished Alumnus Award-2015 was presented to Kurra Lakshmaiah Choudhary, currently the MD, Fujiyama Tool Tech, Pvt Ltd, Hyderabad.

On the occasion, a total of 2579 students received graduate and post-graduate degrees while six students were presented M.Phil and 60 students the PhD in streams like engineering, management, science, pharmacy and international business.

The University also presented 50 gold medals to meritorious students.002