This Year, ISRO Completed Every Task, From Moon Walk To Sun Dance

In 2023, ISRO performed a joyous Moon walk alongside a gallant Sundance, among other things. Presently, the space ecosystem of India is flourishing and providing delight to 1.4 billion people. The Chandryaan-3 soft landing, which brought India together like never before, was just one achievement that made India’s space agency very proud.

2023 has seen a number of noteworthy accomplishments for the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now tasked the Department of Space with launching India’s first astronaut from Sriharikota into space in 2024–2025, establishing an Indian space station by 2035, and landing an Indian on the moon by 2040.

Reminiscing about the year, ISRO chairman S Somanath, whose name means “Lord of the Moon,” said, “Naya (new) ISRO is now in a new happy orbit.” 2023 marked a true turning point in ISRO’s history.”

The OneWeb constellation’s successful commercial launch, the celestial Surya Namaskar soft landing on the Moon, the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle’s mastery, and the further development of India’s first private rocket by Skyroot Aerospace, a startup, “all of these bolstered the morale of Team ISRO and helped bring a smile for Indians,” stated Mr. Somanath.

In 2023, all nine of ISRO’s launch flights were successful, capping an incredible streak that coincided with two years of COVID-19 setbacks.

As India prepared to roll out space-based internet, the year began with the first-ever commercial launch from its heaviest rocket, the “Bahubali,” later renamed Launch Vehicle Mark 3. In two successful launches, the vehicle lifted 72 satellites for the OneWeb constellation. Since India essentially grabbed these launches from the teeth of fierce competitors like SpaceX, they were historic. In order to get this sophisticated but heavy-weight Indian launcher human-ready for the planned astronaut launch from Sriharikota, it also allowed the rocket scientists at ISRO the confidence to hone and rehearse their craft.

The year’s biggest heart-stopper was India’s ongoing romance with Chandamama, the Moon, our closest neighbor. With great enthusiasm, the genial head of ISRO said that “India is on the moon” on August 23, 2023, a night that delighted people all throughout India.

Not only was India the fourth nation to soft-land on a celestial planet other than Earth, but it was also a significant accomplishment for the scientists to land closer to the Moon’s south pole, as the current “gold rush” in lunar research is concentrated in this area.

For the Indians, receiving the first-ever selfie taken from the lunar surface—a picture of the Indian flag being rolled down and landing on the moon—was a dream come true.

This was India’s third lunar landing; the first, Chandryaan-1, in 2008, changed the course of lunar history when it revealed the previously unknown existence of water molecules on the moon. In 2019, ISRO launched an untested gadget to the lunar surface, Vikram, which resulted in a crash, during Chandrayaan-2’s attempt to soft land on the moon. After learning its lessons and replacing the top ISRO leadership, India had success in 2023 when Vikram and Pragyaan completed their missions to the fullest and were appointed India’s permanent emissaries on the moon at the Shiv Shakti Point.

The ability of ISRO to be adaptable was further shown by Chandrayaan-3, which included two surprises: first, a hop experiment by Vikram, and second, the return of the mission’s Propulsion Module to Earth orbit.

According to Mr. Somanath, ISRO was able to extract the benefits for three missions for the price of one, and the organization is now prepared for a sample return mission to retrieve moon rocks.

Days after the historic soft landing, India launched the Aditya L1 satellite—which is now closer to its Sun-crossing rendezvous—as its first space-based observatory to study the Sun. It has already returned breathtaking pictures of the Sun’s whole disk. India’s insurance coverage for its space assets, valued at ₹ 50,000 crores, will be called Aditya.

After a botched first launch attempt the previous year, ISRO recovered this year by successfully launching the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), a brand-new technology that ISRO built. The primary selling feature of this svelte rocket is its ability to reach orbit in less than a week, even though it can transport several hundred kg into space. ISRO anticipates that the launcher will be completely embraced by the industry and become a commercial success. It could be used as a missile in the future.

Despite being a sub-orbital flight, Skyroot Aerospace’s rocket launch late last year made history as the first private corporation to launch a rocket into space, opening the door for the private space rocket launch system to grow wings. Currently, over a hundred start-ups are competing to turn India’s economic technical skills into a profitable venture. An Indian start-up is launching sophisticated satellites, albeit as test targets. Additionally, India tested the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) with success. After being dropped by an IAF Chinook helicopter, the scaled replica of the RLV safely landed on its own.

Also, the nation saw the release of the ambitious Indian Space Policy-2023, which aims to ‘augment space capabilities; allow, stimulate and create a thriving commercial presence in space; exploit space as a driver of technological growth’. It also creates opportunities for the economic exploitation of asteroidal materials. However, the nation has failed to develop a comprehensive space legislation or establish a liability framework for actions conducted in space. Legal frameworks must be freed from gridlock if the private sector is to thrive.

India is getting ready for its major Gaganyaan Mission, which would use an Indian rocket system to launch up to three people into space and keep them there for up to a week. Before any of the four astronaut designations may take out for space, at least another twenty tests must be completed, including a critical test of the crew escape mechanism. This ₹ 9,000-crore mission serves as ISRO’s flagship project at the moment.

The launch of India’s first space-based observatory, XpoSat, to investigate black holes and dying stars, might potentially begin the new year. The globe is also anticipating the launch of the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) satellite, which is the most costly civilian earth imaging satellite ever built.

The spacecraft, which is expected to cost more than $1.2 billion, could potentially “save lives” by providing unprecedented insight into the Earth’s crustal deformation and climate change. The ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ or ‘NISARGA’ satellite, which will examine the pale blue dot of the planet using the notion of ‘one earth, one family, one future,’ is a fitting name for the first-ever India-US collaborative satellite endeavor.

If all goes according to plan, an Indian astronaut will travel to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2024 as part of a joint Indo-US mission. And since he is a huge space enthusiast, Prime Minister Narendra Modi might decide to make history by being the first head of state to visit the ISS in space! The head of NASA, Bill Nelson, said that this would be a positive move when questioned about the potential.
“Now, the Indian space ecosystem is all set for the Gaganyaan mission, and to have the Bhartiya Antriksha Station by 2035 and the first Indian on Moon by 2040,” Mr. Somanath said, “as the Indian space odyssey continues.” By 2047, ISRO is determined and totally devoted to transforming India into a developed or Viksit nation.”


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