New Satellites to Help Gaganyaan Crew
- 07 Jan 2020
- 3 min read
Why in News
India is planning to put up a new satellite series called the Indian Data Relay Satellite System (IDRSS).
- The IDRSS is planned to track and be constantly in touch with Indian satellites, mainly with those in low-earth orbits (LEO) having limited coverage of earth.
- It will play a crucial role in helping Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with its advanced LEO missions such as space docking, space station and distant expeditions to the Moon, Mars etc.
- It will also be useful in monitoring launches.
- IDRSS satellites of the 2,000 kg class would be launched on the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) launcher to geostationary orbits around 36,000 km away. A satellite in Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit (GEO) covers a third of the earth and therefore three of them can provide total coverage.
- Crew members of the Gaganyaan mission of 2022 will be the first ones to benefit from the IDRSS by staying with mission control fully and continuously throughout the travel.
- At present, in the absence of a data relay satellite system, spacecraft are not visible all the time.
- The scientists have already started working on two IDRSS satellites planned initially.
- The first will be sent towards the end of 2020. It will precede the pre-Gaganyaan experimental unmanned space flight.
- The second one will follow in 2021.
- Both satellites will offer near-total tracking, sending and receiving of information from the crew 24/7.
- Global Scenario
- The U.S. and Russia started relay satellite systems in the late 1970s and 80s. These are being used to monitor the space stations Mir and the International Space Station, trips made to them and to monitor the Hubble Space Telescope, as well.
- Currently, the U.S. is putting up its third-generation advanced fleet of Tracking & Data Relay Satellites (TDRS).
- Russia has its Satellite Data Relay Network.
- Europe is building its own European Data Relay System.
- China is into its second generation Tianlian II series.
Mir: It was a space station operated by the Soviet Union and later by Russia in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001. Mir was the first modular space station.