Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is preparing to launch GISAT-1, a new earth observation satellite, in the first week of March.
GISAT-1 — Geo Imaging Satellite — will be the first of two planned Indian EO spacecraft to be placed in a geostationary orbit of around 36,000 km. It will apparently be in a fixed spot looking over the Indian continent at all times.
All Indian EOs have been placed so far in a 600-odd-km orbits and circle the earth pole to pole. GISAT-1 will be launched from Sriharikota satellite launch centre. “With this satellite, which has high-resolution cameras, we can keep a constant watch on our borders, monitor any changes in the geographical condition of the country, etc.,” said Alok Kumar Srivastav, Senior ISRO scientist and Deputy Director, U R. Rao Satellite Centre, Bengaluru.
About the ambitious Chandrayaan-2 project, he said that after the failed lunar landing of the project owing to technical reasons, ISRO has planned to repeat the project. “The government has already approved the [Chandrayaan-3] project. We are working on it. We are planning to re-launch the project within a year. I am hopeful that this time we will be successful in our endeavour to land our rover near the lunar southern where no rover has landed so far,” he said.
ISRO is expected to develop its own space station within a decade. “ISRO scientists are making every effort to develop our own space station. Hopefully, in the next ten years, India will have its own space station like the U.S. and China,” Dr. Srivastav said. To achieve this gigantic target, preparations are already under way at ISRO. He said ISRO has planned to first send two unmanned spacecraft within a couple of years, and later a crewed mission in the third phase.
“Our astronauts are already undergoing training in Russia. After the completion of their training, they will be part of the first manned mission. The success of the mission will open new avenues for the setting up of our own space station, which will be possible within a decade from now,” he said.
On whether life exists anywhere else in the universe besides on earth, Dr. Srivastav said that as a space scientist, he was enormously hopeful that life existed in some or the other form somewhere in the galaxy. “We are searching for them, and possibly they are searching for us, and hopefully some day we will meet.”