Gaganyaan: 4 Pilots Chosen, Astronaut to Lead; Veraval Launch, Andaman or Bay of Bengal Landing; Ahmedabad Monitoring

After the success of Chandrayaan-3, all eyes are on India’s ambitious Gaganyaan mission, which will be the country’s first manned space mission. The spacecraft’s cabin, containing all the essentials for astronauts, is being manufactured in Ahmedabad. The selected astronauts underwent training four to five years before the Gaganyaan mission, including training in Russia and subsequently in India by the Indian Air Force.

In the Gaganyaan cabin, provisions for three astronauts were initially made, but the current mission will have only one astronaut. Future missions will see the inclusion of additional astronauts. Gaganyaan is set to travel to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands or the Bay of Bengal. In the future, Indian astronauts will also have opportunities to visit the International Space Station (ISS), requiring training in the United States. The four pilots selected by the Indian Air Force are now fully employed by ISRO.

Space Application Center’s Role in Ocean Surveillance

In a conversation with Divya Bhaskar, Dr. Nilesh Desai, the Director of ISRO’s Space Application Center (SAC), highlighted SAC’s role in upcoming missions. While each mission may share a common rocket, the applications and payloads differ, necessitating regular technological upgrades. Ocean surveillance holds significance in the context of oceanic economies and the emerging “Blue Economy.” China’s efforts in expanding maritime territories underscore the importance of ocean surveillance for India.

Currently, India lacks specific satellites for ocean surveillance, and the upcoming “Ocean Constellation” aims to address this gap. This constellation, consisting of four to five satellites, will enable comprehensive monitoring of the world’s oceans. Tracking of ships and detection of other nations’ boats within Indian territorial waters will become possible, benefitting fisheries and maritime activities. The prepared payloads by ISRO in Ahmedabad will play a crucial role in this initiative, making Ahmedabad the headquarters for global ocean monitoring.

ISRO-NASA Collaboration for Payloads

In the near future, ISRO and NASA will collaborate on a joint mission, launching two satellites for payloads. One satellite will carry NASA’s payloads, and the other will carry ISRO’s payloads. NASA’s payloads will be developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), while ISRO’s payloads will be developed by the Space Application Center (SAC). The satellites will operate on L-band frequency for NASA and S-band frequency for ISRO, focusing on Earth’s ecosystem, land cover changes, and natural disaster monitoring.

The satellite will perform “Earthquake Prediction” using S-band radar developed by ISRO. Transmitting signals from the satellite to Earth and receiving signals back will enable data processing and image generation. This technology will enhance security in communication, as quantum technology will secure OTPs and messages. Quantum technology will also bolster password protection, ensuring that passwords and OTPs remain impenetrable. Dr. Desai emphasized that with the increase in cyber fraud and hacking incidents, quantum technology is becoming crucial for secure communication.

Finally, when asked about ISRO’s future plans after the unfortunate demise of Vikram Sarabhai, Dr. Desai expressed his aspiration to become ISRO’s chairman after Satish Dhawan, and later Satish Dhawan’s successor, Satish Dhawan Institute of Science’s director.

Niyati Rao

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