With its scheduled mega launch programme on February 15 all eyes are into Indian Space Agency ISRO. Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C37), India’s most reliable rocket is the work horse of ISRO. Let’s see which are the passengers in PSLV-C37.India’s Earth imaging satellite, in the Cartosat-2 series satellite, is the primary satellite carried by PSLV-C37. The CartoSat-2D is the fifth earth observation satellite in the CartoSat series, and is the heaviest satellite on board.This satellite is similar to the earlier four satellites of the Cartosat-2 series. After its injection into a 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit by PSLV-C37, the satellite will be brought to operational configuration following which it will begin providing regular remote sensing services using its Panchromatic and Multi-spectral cameras. It is powered by solar arrays which generate 986 watt and two Li- ion batteries and has its own fuel. The satellite can be controlled through reaction wheels, magnetic torquers and hydrazine thrusters. Various aspects of the satellite has been thoroughly tested on the ground, including a dynamic balancing test, a solar panel illumination test and a solar panel deployment test. The planned operational period of the satellite is 5 years.
The imageries from Cartosat-2 series satellite will be useful for:
- cartographic applications
- urban and rural applications
- coastal land use and regulation
- utility management like road network monitoring
- water distribution, creation of land use maps
- change detection to bring out geographical and manmade features
- various other Land Information System (LIS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) applications.
The two Inertial Navigational System (INS-IA & INS-1B) use a computer, motion sensors and rotation sensors (gyroscopes) to calculate the position, orientation and velocity (direction and speed) of a moving object without external references. It is a versatile and modular Nano satellite bus system envisioned for future science and experimental payloads. INS-1A and INS-1B will carry a total of four different payloads from Space Applications Centre (SAC) and Laboratory for Electro Optics Systems (LEOS) of ISRO for conducting various experiments. The INS-1A and INS-1B satellites are expected to be operational for 6 months.
The primary objectives of INS system are to:-
- Design and develop a low cost modular Nano satellite in the weight range of
- 10 kg capable of carrying payloads up to a weight of 5 kg.
- Provide an opportunity for ISRO technology demonstration payloads.
- Provide a standard bus for launch on demand services.
- Provide an opportunity to carry innovative payloads for Universities / R&D laboratories.
Out of 96 satellites from USA, 88 satellites are from Planet Labs, a company that sells Earth imaging service. Yes, the company which purchased Terra Bella, Google’s satellite imaging business. These satellites are small CubeSats known as Dove satellites, Dove( flock-3p) nano satellites are a group of remote sensing satellites which will image the earth every day for its commercial, environmental, humanitarian purposes. Flock 2p, which is a constellation of 12 Dove satellites, was also launched by Isro in the PSLV-C34 mission in last June, that had 20 satellites on board. Flock 3p will form a constellation with an ideal mid morning pass timing, that allows for clear images with minimum shadows. This is a record for the largest private satellite constellation in history.
Next 8 satellites are called LEMUR 2 nano satellites meant for providing vessel tracking using automated identification system, besides carrying out weather measurement using GPS Radio Occulatation. The Lemur satellites are owned and managed by Spire Global. These are a part of a constellation of satellites that track ships in open waters which is useful for real-time monitoring of large ships. The data is used by insurance companies, for the safety of the ships, to monitor illegal fishing and to take measures against piracy. The Lemur satellites are also equipped with instruments for monitoring the weather, which improves the accuracy of weather forecasts.
The twenty-second to twenty-ninth satellites in the Lemur-2 constellation, these spacecraft each carry a meteorological payload called STRATOS which uses the occultation of signals from GPS satellites passing through Earth’s atmosphere to infer atmospheric temperature, humidity and pressure. In addition, the Lemurs carry SENSE receivers for the Automatic Identification System (AIS), allowing them to pick up and relay tracking data from ships at sea.
The PiezoElectric Assisted Smart Satellite Structure (PEASS) from The Netherlands is a nanosatellite meant to test and qualify cutting edge “smart structures”, which combine composite panels, piezoelectric materials and next generation sensors. Smart structures will enable fine angle control, thermal and vibration compensation, improving all types of future Earth observations, such as environmental and planetary mapping, border and regional imaging. This new technology will help keep Europe on the cutting edge of space research, potentially improving the cost and development time for more accurate future sensor platforms including synthetic aperture optics, moving target detection and identification, and compact radars. The results of the technology demonstration will be disseminated to the industry through web sites, papers, presentations and courses. The PEASSS is built by a European consortium of Partners, lead by Dutch research institute TNO and owned by Innovative Solutions in Space.
The Overall Project Goal is to develop and test the following smart structures:
- piezo actuated “smart panels” for pointing of optical instruments/sensors
- piezo actuated “smart panels” for power harvesting
- fiber bragg gratings for composite structure strain and temperature measurement
- next generation of power conditioners for future applications in space missions.
The DIDO-2 is a microgravity research nanosatellite built by SpacePharma from Switzerland. a platform for conducting biochemical and physical experiments in microgravity, allowing scientists to investigate phenomena that are normally obscured by gravity on Earth. Currently, access to microgravity research is restricted to the International Space Station, which is prohibitively expensive. SpacePharma allows customers, mainly pharmaceutical companies, to design experiments meant for space. The customers can monitor and control the experiments from their own location. The DIDO-2 is the first satellite to be launched by SpacePharma.
BGUSat is a technology demonstration nanosatellite from Israel based on the CubeSat architecture. The payloads on board are a camera, a space GPS, and an optical communication system. There is an automatic housekeeping program on board to monitor the communications and power functions. Israeli Aerospace Industries has built the satellite in cooperation with students from the Ben Gurion University. The main objective of the mission is so that students can learn the planning and development of satellites. The students will learn about telemetry systems, attitude control, power, sensors and integration. There are deployable solar panels for power.
The Nayif-1 is a nanosatellite from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the smallest and lightest passenger on board. The Nayif-1 is the first ever cubesat nanosatellite by UAE, and has been built by engineering students. The Nayif-1 was initially slotted to fly on board a Spacex Falcon 9. The Nayif-1 will pass over the UAE twice a day. The morning pass will be used by students, whereas the evening pass is for amateur radio communications. The students have created a special ground station for receiving telemetry data and have created a dashboard to display greeting messages in Arabic. The satellite will also collect a large amount of environmental space data.
The name of the satellite is derived from the Arabic noun, which means ‘one that soars high above’ or ‘one that is morally and intellectually superior.’ For the Nayif-1 project, MBRSC established a partnership with the American University of Sharjah (AUS) in order to provide the engineering students with hands-on experience in satellite manufacturing, testing and operations. The satellite will re-broadcast text messages to the world and it will collect data to help academic institutions in conducting different types of research.
The Al-Farabi-1 is a nano-satellite from Kazakhstan. The Al-Farabi-1 is the first student nano-satellite from Kazakhstan, and is built by the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University. The main payload is a 3MP sensor. There are solar panels on all the sides of the satellite. There are 4 sun sensors on board, a 3 axis magnetic sensor, a 3 axis gyro sensor, 3 reaction wheels and a 3 axis magnetorquer, which will all be used to control the satellite. A ground station has been built for downlink and uplink operations. The satellite will orbit around the earth fourteen times every day, with each orbit lasting 97 minutes
The flight of the PSLV C37 rocket is expected to last sixteen minutes. The satellites will start separating after that, over a period of roughly ten minutes. The CartoSat-2D will be deployed first, followed by pairs of the nanosatellites. The nanosatellites are packed into quadpack dispensers for being released into orbit. The entire operation is expected to last about 28 minutes.