1. Prologue
  2. NISAR Mission 2020: to measure land surface
  3. GSAT-16: Communication satellite
  4. GSLV-Mark 3 for “FAT” satellites in future
  5. Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) to drive vehicle carefully


Combining space-tech related topics from September W1 to October W3, in three part series

  1. IRNSS: the desi GPS
  2. Stuff send to space: NISAR-mission, GSLV-6, GSAT MK-3
  3. Stuff build on land: TMT, INO, TOPS

Apart from this lot of ball by ball commentary happened- Comet Siding spring, ESA’s Rosetta Mission, NASA’s Orion mission, Lunar Eclipse, Blood moon. But I don’t consider them much important for Mains-2014. Although I’ve noted them down, will release them later under prelim space-tech series 2015.

NISAR Mission 2020: to measure land surface

Topic in News: October W1, 2014

NISAR Mission of NASA and ISRO

Full name NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission
Launch Year 2020

What’s the purpose of this mission?

  • Measure the changes on earth’s land surface, ice surface, glaciers, earthquakes and volcanoes.
  • Find causes and consequences of such changes.
  • NISAR will be the first satellite mission to use two different radar frequencies (L-band and S-band). Hence It can capture resolution even less than a centimeter of earth’s surface.

What’s the utility of such data?

  • Understanding climate change
  • Predicting natural disasters in advance.
Who’ll provide what?
  • L-band
  • synthetic aperture radar (SAR)
  • GPS
  • Subsystems: Payload, Communication
  • Solid state recorder
  • S-Band
  • Launch Vehicle
  • Spacecraft bus

Mock Question (GS3) Write a short note on NISAR MISSION 100 words.

GSAT-16: Communication satellite

Topic in News: SepW2, 2014

  • Existing system: INSAT-3E at 55 Degree East Longitude.
  • INSAT-3E is a communication satellite that powers DD and private TV channels, internet and radio signals.
  • But INSAT-3E is getting old and outdated. Stopped working in March 2014, after serving for almost a decade.
  • Solution? = replace it with GSAT-16


GSAT-16: Facts and Features:
Launch 2015, June
  • Communication satellite
  • For TV, radio and internet
Weight 3100 kg
Launch Vehicle European Ariane-5 launcher

Mock Question (GS3): Discuss the features and utility of GSAT-16 (100 words.)

GSLV-Mark 3 for “FAT” satellites in future

Topic in news: Oct W3, 2014 (Because ISRO planning launch in next 45 days)

GSLV Mk-3 Launch vehicle

First understand the difference
Polar satellite launch vehicle Geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle
First launch 1993 2001.
Can carry upto 1600 kg satellite 2500kg
Used for launching Indian remote sensing satellites (IRS) such as CARTOSAT, RISAT, OCEANSAT, RESOURCESAT For launching Indian National satellites (INSAT) such as INSAT 2E, 3A…., GSAT-2,8,12.
Latest version is PSLV-XL. Can carry upto 1750 kg. It was used to launch Chandrayaan, RISAT. And in future, it’ll be used for Mars mission as well.
  • Next version is GSLV MK-3

What is GSLV Mk-3?

Latest version of GSLV -Geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle.

so, What’s the difference?
(ordinary) GSLV GSLV Mk-3
Carry upto 2500 kg
  • Can carry upto 4500-5000 kg satellites, such as INSAT-4 class. (Old articles in Hindu said upto 4000, but new articles say 4500-5000)
  • Until now, we relied on EU’s Arianespace launch vehicle to send those INSAT-4 satellites.
  • In future, it ma
49 meters tall
  • Just 42.4 meters- Shorter than ordinary GSLV.
414 tonnes 629 tonnes.
  • Nov-Dec 2014: ISRO planning a test-launch it, using a dummy crew module.
GSLV MK-3 is a three stage vehicle.
1st stage Solid propellant
2nd stage Liquid Propellant
3rd stage Cryogenic Engine. (although during test-launch, ISRO won’t use this)

GSLV MK-3 has multi-mission launch capabilities:

  • GTO (geo transfer orbit)
  • LEO (low earth orbit), Polar
  • Intermediate circular orbits.
  • Therefore it can be used for launching satellites into different orbits, according to Mission requirement.
  • Thus, GSLV MK-3 will make ISRO a competitive player in commercial launches of foreign satellites (and earn million$$).

Mock Question (GS3): GSLV MK-3 will augment the both communication and commercial operations ISRO. Elaborate (100 words.)

Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) to drive vehicle carefully

Topic in News: Sep W2, 2014

There are two types of launch engines:
Solid fuel
  • once fired continue to be in operation till their fuel burns off.
  • We can’t control its velocity or direction.
Liquid fuel
  • They can be shut off once the spacecraft achieves the desired velocity
  • We can restart the engine several times if required. Thus it is possible to change satellite’s orbit with precision.
  • LAM- Liquid Apogee Motor: is a special device on such liquid-fuel powered engines.
  • LAM Helps moving the satellite to the precise orbit.
  • LAM uses following chemicals: Helium gas, Nitrogen Tetroxide, Monomethyle Hydrazine
  • ISRO originally designed this instrument for INSAT-2 and other communication satellite.
  • Recently, ISRO used LAM on its Mars orbiter and on IRNSS satellites.

Mock Question (GS3): What is the utility of Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) module developed by ISRO? (100 words.)