It’s Dead, Jim! ISRO Gives Up on Lunar Lander, Rover

Chandrayaan2 Vikram lander (Credit: ISRO)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Well, it’s not the famous winter of Game of Thrones, but the 14-day lunar night has arrived where India’s Vikram lander and Pragyan rover made what IRSO officials have called a “hard landing” two weeks ago with no communication between them and ground controllers.

Since neither vehicle was designed to survive the frigid temperatures of the lunar night, the Indian space agency has called it a day in a rather bare bones announcement.

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France, India to Develop Ship Tracking Satellite Constellation

PARIS (CNES PR) — On the occasion of the state visit to France of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an agreement signed by CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and K Sivan, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), was officially announced to start development and production of a constellation of satellites on which studies have been underway since President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to India in March 2018.

This constellation carrying telecommunications (AIS*) and radar and optical remote-sensing instruments will constitute the first space-based system in the world capable of tracking ships continuously. The satellites will be operated jointly by France and India to monitor ships in the Indian Ocean. The system will cover a wide belt around the globe, benefiting a broad range of French economic interests. With a revisit capability making it possible to task acquisitions several times a day, it will also be able to detect oil slicks and trace their origin.

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India, France to Cooperate on Human Spaceflight

BENGALURU, India (CNES PR) — Announcing the establishment of a French-Indian working group dedicated to cooperation in the field of manned spaceflight, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and ISRO President K Sivan have concretized one of the main commitments made by the President of the Republic during his state visit to India.

CNES and ISRO will pool their expertise in the fields of space medicine, astronaut health monitoring, life support, radiation protection, space debris protection and personal hygiene systems.

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Indian Prime Minister Says Country Will Launch Astronauts into Space By 2022

Escape tower fires for crew vehicle. (Credit: ISRO)

Speaking 0n the 72nd anniversary of Indian independence, Prime Minister Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the nation would launch astronauts into space within four years.

“India has always advanced in space science but we have decided that by 2022 when India completes 75 years of Independence, or before that, a son or daughter of India will go to space with a tricolor in their hands,” Modi said.

Indian news outlets are reporting the country is planning to send three astronauts, known as vyomnauts (spacenauts), into Earth orbit on a mission lasting five to seven days.

ISRO would spend 90 billion rupees ($1.28 billion) on the initial program, which would two uncrewed flight tests before the vyomnauts fly in a spacecraft launched by a GSLV Mk. 3 booster.

On July 5, ISRO successfully tested a crew escape system that blasted away a simulated crew module with a mass of 12.6 metric tons.

 











ISRO Chairman Departs on High Note

k_radhakrishnan
K Radhakrishnan

ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan has retired, ending his five-year tenure as head of India’s space agency on a high note following the successes of Mars Orbiter Mission and the inaugural launch of the GSLV Mark III rocket.

Indian media are reporting that Shailesh Nayak, secretary in the ministry of the earth sciences, has been given the responsibility of running ISRO until a replacement for Radhakrishnan is named in about a month.

The resignation will allow Prime Minster Narendra Modi, who was elected in May, the opportunity to appoint a new chairman for the space agency.

Indian media report that Radhakrishnan’s term in office was supposed to expire in August, but he was given a four-month extension that allowed him to preside over the launch of the first GSLV Mark III rocket in December.