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October 14, 2007

Future Plans of VSSC and Chandrayaan Mission – Dr Suresh’s Lecture at Zephyr

On the second day, October 6th at Zephyr 2007, Dr Suresh, Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) gave an lecture on “ISRO’s Chandrayaan Mission and Future Plans of VSSC”. As I said in the previous article, the eagerness in the audience could be noticed clearly as the auditorium was jam-packed with bubbling students on the very morning of the day. Everyone was very keen in listening to his lecture. Like the day before, his lecture was excellent with lots of information to digest.

In his lecture, he spoke about the projects currently undertaken by VSSC, step by step development in the Indian space program, objectives of ISRO and VSSC, application of space technology and the Chandrayaan moon mission.

He said that VSSC is currently working on the Chandrayaan unmanned moon landing mission, air-breathing hypersonic launch vehicles, reusable launch vehicle like the space shuttle, indigenous cryogenic engine and cheaper launch vehicles.

Then, he started briefing on the development of the Indian space program from 1960s. He mentioned that the Indian aerospace made history note as earlier during the time of Tipu Sultan, when Sultan used 3.5 kg rocket with 2 kg of gunpowder that could fly a distance of 1.5 km against the British.

He spoke about the sounding rockets in 1960s, the launch of experimental satellites into orbit with the solid-fuel analog guided Satellite Launch Vehicles (SLV) in the 1970s, the Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicles (ASLV) that had liquid-fuelled strap-on boosters and a closed-loop inertial guidance system in the 1980s, the four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLV) that successfully launched remote sensing satellites into polar and sun-synchronous orbits and the most recent three-stage Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV – F04) with a third cryogenic stage that successfully launched a communication satellite INSAT – 4CR on 2nd September 2007.

Dr Suresh then said that the present concern in space industry is to make every launch cost-effective as the space technology has tremendous applications in remote sensing, agriculture, forestry, mining and oil exploration, as well as in disaster management. Right now, the principal objective of ISRO and VSSC is to reduce the cost from the present $20,000 per kg first to $2,000 per kg and then to $500 per kg. The final objective, he said, is to bring down launch costs to $200 per kg.

For fulfilling the above objective, he said, ISRO and VSSC had already initiated work on air-breathing hypersonic launch vehicles that could increase payload efficiencies, as they do not carry oxidisers in addition to fuel, reusable launch vehicles that could be used again and again, thus reducing costs and developing the more economical two-stage and then single-stage rockets for launching smaller spacecraft.

Finally, he spoke about the Chandrayaan moon mission, where a lunar craft would be launched using a PSLV next year. He said the lunar craft would be initially put in the 30,000km Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and then onboard boosters would be fired so that it gets transferred to Extended Transfer Orbit (ETO), which would enable it to gain escape velocity for leaving earth’s atmosphere and finally reach moon to get placed in a polar orbit at a distance 100km above the moon’s surface in 5 days. To know more about chandrayaan, read the following articles.

How Chandrayaan Started?

More Information about Chandrayaan

Dr. Annadurai Lecture on Chandrayaan


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