Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…
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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  • September 20, 2019
Indian Officials Dismiss NASA’s Concern Over Debris from ASAT Test

Indian officials are dismissing concerns expressed by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine about debris in low Earth orbit from an Indian anti-satellite (ASAT) test that could threaten the International Space Station (ISS) and other spacecraft. The Hindustan Times reports that an official from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as downplaying the dangers. The DRDO chief and a spokesperson did not comment. An official of the agency, while asking not to […]

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  • April 3, 2019
India Plans Hypersonic Flight Test

An update on hypersonic vehicle development in India: India is planning to conduct the first flight trial of its Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) in the next 12 to 18 months, according to Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) officials. The HSTDV programme aims to produce a hydrocarbon-fuelled scramjet test article capable of Mach 6-7 and autonomously guided flight. The HSTDV will pave the way for a hypersonic cruise missile […]

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  • October 26, 2012
Ex-ISRO Officials Praise Chinese Human Launch, Rue Lost Opportunity

By Douglas Messier

Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

While the Chinese celebrate the launch of a three-member crew to the Tiangong-1 space station, two former chairman of India’s space agency ISRO are looking on with both admiration and regret. As China’s program has moved slowly but steadily forward, India’s plans for human space missions have slipped from around 2016 into the early to mid-2020s.

India’s top space scientists praised China’s maiden mission of manned docking of its space lab even as New Delhi’s own human space flight programme seems to have lost momentum.

“It’s a wonderful thing that has happened,” ex-Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, U R Rao told PTI here. “Essentially, they are making sure that they are going ahead systematically with manned mission programme”. …

He said India has not started any manned mission programme at all. “We have to have much larger and much more powerful launch vehicle,” Rao said.


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  • June 18, 2012
Brazil Briefs: Budget Figures, VLS Progress and Indian Cooperation

Some updates on the Brazilian space program: Officials have budgeted $2.2 billion over the next three years for the nation’s space program, according to press reports. The largest chunk of the funds will go toward efforts to launch Ukraine’s Cyclone-4 rocket from Brazil’s Alcantara Launch Center. The inaugural flight is currently scheduled for late 2013. Another key priority is the CBERS-3 environmental satellite that Brazil is developing with China. On […]

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  • April 7, 2012
ISRO to Launch Reusable Testbed Demonstrator

Fresh off delaying its human spaceflight program into the 2020s (news that India’s media barely seemed to notice), ISRO is now getting a lot of press for this much smaller, reusable test vehicle project. Although the science reporter in the video above compares this to the U.S. space shuttle, this is really a relatively small testbed for evaluating new technologies. This print report is a bit more accurate: The design […]

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  • January 10, 2012
India’s Human Space Missions Slip into 2020s, Foreign Involvement Nixed

Mockup of India's human spacecraft (Credit: ISRO)

India’s plan to launch astronauts into space on its own appears to have slipped into the 2020s, while the possible involvement of foreign partners in the effort has been nixed.

On Friday, it was announced that ISRO had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Indian Air Force (IAF) for the selection of astronauts beginning no earlier than 2020. In late January 2010, ISRO announced a $4.8 billion plan to launch astronauts aboard its own rocket and spacecraft in 2016.

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  • January 2, 2012
India: Committee Completes Probe of Antrix-Devas Deal, Investigations Launched

A  high-level committee has completed a probe into the controversial satellite deal between ISRO’s Antrix commercial arm and Davas Multimedia, according to Indian press reports. Investigations are being carried out based on the team’s review.

The five-member body, appointed in May by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was asked to investigate how the deal was made and to identify any acts of “omission and commission” by the government officials who approved it.


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  • November 19, 2011
Emerging Powers Brazil, India Look To Space Cooperation

AEB PR — The two emerging powers need to define forms and fields of cooperation in space. The full awareness of this growing need was clear during a meeting of  Ambassador of India, BS Prakash, the President of the Brazilian Space Agency, Professor Marco Antonio Raupp, on Tuesday.

Outline was agreed by the end of the year, the concrete fields of cooperation to be effective, based on mutual interests and participation of companies from both countries. It was also agreed to devote special attention to the program in future meetings Satellite IBSA forum approved by India, Brazil and South Africa. The technical characteristics of these satellites have begun to be developed.


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  • October 3, 2011
Singh Orders New Inquiry into Antrix-Devas Multimedia Deal

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Credit: Agencia Brasil

Beset by allegations of corruption, cronyism and unaccountability, beleaguered Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has ordered a second investigation into the controversial Antrix-Devas Multimedia spectrum deal that has convulsed Indian politics. The goal of this inquiry: to find someone to blame for this whole mess. Who? Anyone but the prime minister.

Press Trust of India reports:

[The] new inquiry by former Central Vigilance Commissioner Pratyush Sinha….has been set up in pursuance to the recommendations of the BK Chaturvedi committee that went into the technical, commercial, procedural and financial aspects of the agreement between ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix and Devas. The Sinha Committee has been asked to look into matters of individual culpability and fix responsibility, if any and submit a report by July end, the sources said.


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  • June 19, 2011