China launches its first indigenous aircraft carrier । The new carrier will accommodate 36 aircraft and will be commissioned in 2020 after sea trials । It’s a 50000 ton platform with a ski jump deck modeled on Soviet carriers but has many design innovations । India, South Korea Sign Inter-Governmental MoU for Defence Industry Co-Operation in Shipbuilding । The MoU signed by Secretary (Defence Production), India, Ashok Kumar Gupta and Minister of Defence Acquisition and Programme Administration (DAPA), South Korea, Chang Myoung-Jin । The Inter-Governmental MoU was conceived under the overall umbrella of the ‘Special Strategic Partnership’ between both countries । The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) accorded its approval for signing the MoU । The CCS also gave a go ahead for nominating Hindustan Shipyard Ltd, Visakhapatnam for collaboration । Indian Navy successfully test-fires land attack version of Brahmos supersonic cruise missile । Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari calls on President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Home Minister and Defence Minister in New Delhi Apr 18 । Nepalese President is on a State visit to India April 17-21 । This is her first ever visit to India since taking over in 2015 । She was given a ceremonial Guard of Honour on her arrival at Rashtrapati Bhawan । Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Harjit Singh Sajjan, called on Defence Minister Arun Jaitley Tuesday । He was presented a Tri-Services Guard of Honour on his arrival at South Block । 12 killed in Saudi military helicopter in Yemen । Unconfined reports say the Blackhawk was accidentally shot down by a Saudi Patriot missile। US NSA Gen HR McMaster meets Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi । Gen McMaster also exchanged views on Indo-US relations with Indian counterpart Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar । Happy Easter । US drops its biggest 21,000 pound bomb on ISIS in Afghanistan April 13 । Designated GBU 43, the Mother of All Bombs is designed to hit deep caves and tunnels in hardy mountains । GBU 43 is the biggest non-nuclear bomb, carried by the US Air Force (USAF) and the British Royal Air Force (RAF) । White House Press Secretyary Sean Spricer confirmed the night bombing but there was no immediate word from Taliban । Spicer said the ISIS terroists were targeted as they used the caves and tunnels to hit the US forces । GBU 43 is a concussion bomb carrying an explosive charge of 8,500 kg, equal to 11 tons of TNT । India, Australia sign 6 MoUs including on Combating Terrorism and Civil Aviation Security । Agreements signed during Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull’s Visit to India April 10 । He calls on President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi । This is the first ever visit of Turnbull after taking over as Australian PM in 2015 । The Australian PM along with his Indian counterpart took a Delhi metro ride to visit city-based Akshardham Temple । India, Bangladesh signed 22 agreements April 8 including key pacts on defence cooperation and civil nuclear cooperation । India announced an additional $4.5-billion concessional line of credit for infrastructure projects in Bangladesh, and another $500 million for Dhaka to procure defence equipment from New Delhi । A joint India-Bangladesh event saw both PMs honour the 1,661 Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the 1971 war for Bangladesh’s independence । Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrives in New Delhi for 4-day State visit to India । Prime Minister Modi himself goes to the airport to greet the Bangladesh PM on her arrival । External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj calls on Sheikh Hasina at Rashtrapati Bhawan । She is the special guest of President Pranab Mukherjee during her State visit to India । The Bangladesh PM has a full day of bilateral discussions with her Indian counterpart on Saturday (April 8) । 20 agreements are expected to be signed between India and Bangladesh । India, Malaysia sign 7 agreements । The agreements signed during Malaysian PM Najib Razak’s visit to India from March 30 to April 4 । Malaysian PM calls on President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi । India and Malaysia joint statement, issued after Modi, Razak meeting, calls for a deeper ties between the two nations । Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is free from jail after six year । Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who holds additional charge of Defence, elected President of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) । He succeeds Mr Manohar Parikkar who resigned to take over as Chief Minister of Goa recently। Hardeep Singh Puri appointed Chairman of the Research and Information System for Developing Countries । Mr Puri is former Indian Envoy to the UN in New York and Geneva । FBI investigating possible Russian interference in 2016 US presidential election, Director Comey confirms । He told House Intelligence Committee there is no evidence of President Obama ordering wiretap of Trump during the election campaign । President Trump has made several allegations against his predecessor, which the powerful heads of FBI and NSA have denied । Finance Minister Arun Jaitley assumes additional charge as Defence Minster । Jaitley replaces Manohar Parrikar who has moved to Goa to head the State’s Government as Chief Minster । BRAHMOS Extended Range (ER) missile successfully test-fired । Prime Minister greets CISF on its 48th Raising Day । INS Tillanchang Commissioned into Indian Navy । INS Tillanchang was commissioned by FOC-in-C Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Girish Luthra at Karwar । India Strategic salutes the humanity on this International Women’s Day । Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju dedicates first integrated heliport to the nation । Ms. DR Doley Barman appointed Director of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad । 1992 batch IFS officer Gopal Baglay appointed MEA Spokesperson । He replaces Vikas Swarup, who has been appointed Indian High Commissioner to Canada । Raytheon, Tata Advanced Systems to Co-produce Stinger Missile Components । Indian Navy Concludes First Contract under Buy and Make (Indian) Category । Contract signed between Nova Integrated Systems Ltd (NISL), a TASL subsidiary, and Indian Navy for procurement of Surface Surveillance Radars (SSRs) । NISL to indigenously manufacture these state-of-the-art radars in collaboration with Terma, Denmark । ISRO creates history; launches 104 satellites in one go । President, Vice President and Prime Minister congratulated ISRO and its scientists for the historic mission । Indian Navy to decommission aircraft carrier INS Viraat on March 6 । India to spend Rs 2,74,114 crore on Defence । Rs 85,737.31 crore will be spent on equipment acquisition । Russia formally enters IAF’s second round of MMRCA competition । Moscow offers a new MiG-35 variant under Make in India । Alexander M Kadakin, who served as the Russian Ambassador to India for over a dozen years, passed away after a brief illness in New Delhi on Thursday, January 26, 2017. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled Kadakin’s death calling him a “great friend of India.” । India Strategic wishes everyone Happy Republic Day । President Pranab Mukherjee takes salute at the beautiful Republic Day Parade in New Delhi । UAE Crown Prince Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed is the Chief Guest at India’s R-Day celebrations । A highlight of the Parade is also the participation of a UAE armed forces contingent । Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti to pay tributes to martyrs । The impressive Parade began with a 21-gun salute to the President, the Supreme Commander of the Indian armed forces । India’s anti-terror force, National Security Guard (NSG) made its debut in the Parade । Dressed in their patent black, NSG commandos jogged passed the saluting base with their faces covered । US President Donald Trump called Prime Minister Narendra Modi late on January 24 । The telephone call is indicative of the vital nature of the India-US strategic partnership between the two countries । Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan arrives in New Delhi । Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, was received by PM Modi । Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed is the Chief Guest of Republic Day 2017 । Government extends Foreign Secretary Dr S Jaishankar’s tenure by one year । The extension to be effective between Jan 29, 2017 and Jan 28, 2018 । Pravind Kumar Jugnauth takes over as Mauritius Prime Minister । Prime Minister Modi congratulated the newly-appointed Mauritian PM । Donald Trump takes over as US President । Promises transfer of power to people । Turkish Boeing 747 cargo plane crashes in Kyrgyzstan with 37 onboard; all killed । Astronaut Gene Cernan, 82, the last man to walk on moon, passes away । India marks Army Day । President, Prime Minister and Defence Minister greet the Army । Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat takes salute at the impressive Army Day Parade । Gen Rawat says India wants peace but if attempts are made to disrupt it, then “we will display our power” । He says emphasis is on newer technology weapons and systems for the Army । Space connectivity is also high on Army’s agenda । This is the 69th Army Day, marking the time when an Indian Chief, Gen KM Cariappa took over the command after Independence । Indian Navy launches its second Kalvari class submarine INS Khanderi in Mumbai । India Strategic wishes all its readers and viewers a very Happy New Year । India successfully test fires Agni 5 long range missile | IAF gets Government approval for one more C 17 strategic Lift aircraft | IAF has got 10 C 17s, but had initially planned for more than 20 | Lack of timely approval made IAF slash figure to three but by then Boeing closed factory | IAF will get the last one in production | Syrian government of President Assad takes full control of Aleppo | Lt Gen Bipin Rawat appointed the next Army Chief and Air Marshal BS Dhanoa the Air Chief | The appointments are effective December 31 afternoon | Both are Vice Chiefs of Staff at present in their respective Services | 48 killed in a PIA ATR-42 aircraft crash in Pakistan | The twin-engine propellor aircraft was on way from Chitral to Islamabad | India marks Navy Day | Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets all Navy personnel, and salutes their bravery on Indian Navy annual day | PM Modi, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani jointly inaugurate Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference at Amritsar (India) Dec 4 | Need of the hour is to identify terrorism and bring stability in the region, says PM Modi | India’s commitment to Afghan is absolute, Mr Modi said addressing 6th HoA Ministerial Conf | Afgan Prez accused Pakistan of sheltering terror, and thanked India of financial aid | HoA Conf began at Amritsar Dec 3 | INS Vikrant likely to be operational in 2018 | Vikrant to operate both Russian MiG-29K and Western origin Aircraft | Indian Navy to mark 2017 as the year of submarine: Adm Lanba class=”gap”>| Gujarat-cadre officer Rakesh Asthana to take over as CBI Director after Anil Sinha, who retires Dec 2 | Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is Pakistan’s new army chief | Gen Bajwa took over from Gen Raheel Sharif Nov 29 | The outgoing chief stressed all should work together “against external and internathreats” | Plane carrying Brazilian football team crashes in Colombia | Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro dies. He was 90. | Castro had challenged the US might and invited Soviet presence next door to the US | US-Cuban relations have normalized now after half a century | Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Commissions INS Chennai into Indian Navy Nov 21 | INS Chennai is a Project 15A Guided Missile Destroyer | This is the 3rd and last ‘Kolkata’ class destroyer indigenously designed by DND and constructed by MDL, Mumbai |
April 26, 2017
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Year End Review: Department of Space

An unprecedented seven missions launched, all successful
December 2016

New Delhi/Sriharikota. The year 2016 was very eventful for the Indian space programme which scored very prominent and significant successes in launch vehicle, satellite, applications and space exploration domains. The year saw an unprecedented seven launch vehicle missions all of which were successful. Eight ISRO satellites, four student satellites and 22 foreign satellites were launched by these missions.

The year 2016 also saw two successful advanced launch vehicle technology initiatives of ISRO – the Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) and SCRAMJET technology demonstrator – which had their maiden test flights. Additionally, the highly successful Mars Orbiter Spacecraft of India completed two years in its orbit around Mars and India’s ASTROSAT multi-wavelength observatory successfully completed one year in orbit.
Launch Vehicle and Satellite Missions of ISRO:

1.1. PSLV-C31/IRNSS-1E Mission: In this flight, the workhorse launch vehicle PSLV launched IRNSS-1E, the fifth satellite of the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) constellation, on January 20, 2016.

1.2. PSLV-C32/IRNSS-1F Mission: In this flight, which was its 34th, PSLV launched IRNSS-1F, the sixth satellite of the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) constellation, on March 10, 2016.

1.3. PSLV-C33/IRNSS-1G Mission: In this flight, PSLV launched the seventh and the last satellite IRNSS-1G of the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) constellation on April 28, 2016. With this, the space segment of the IRNSS is fully deployed. IRNSS signals are now available and trials with the receiver system are in progress. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated IRNSS to the nation as ‘NavIC’ (Navigation Indian Constellation). This is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland. IRNSS provides two types of services, namely, Standard Positioning Services (SPS) – provided to all users and Restricted Services (RS) – provided to authorised users only.

1.4. Reusable Launch Vehicle – Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD): India’s first winged body aerospace vehicle, RLV-TD i.e. Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD), was successfully flight tested on May 23, 2016. From the peak altitude of 65 km, RLV-TD began its descent followed by atmospheric re-entry at around Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound). After successfully surviving a high temperature of re-entry, RLV-TD successfully glided down to the defined landing spot over Bay of Bengal. In this flight, critical technologies such as autonomous navigation, guidance & control, reusable thermal protection system and re-entry mission management were successfully validated.

1.5. PSLV-C34/Cartosat-2 Series Mission: On June 22, 2016, PSLV-C34 successfully launched 20 satellites in a single mission. It included India’s CARTOSAT-2 series of satellite (weighing 727 kg) as primary payload and two academic institutes’ satellites, namely, SWAYAM and SATHYABAMASAT and 17 satellites (total weighing 555 kg) of foreign customers from Canada, Germany, Indonesia and USA as co-passengers.

1.6. GSLV-F05/ INSAT-3DR Mission: On September 8, 2016, GSLV-F05, India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, equipped with the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS), successfully launched the country’s weather satellite INSAT-3DR. INSAT-3DR is a follow-on meteorological satellite to INSAT-3D. This launch is significant, considering that fact that this is the third consecutive success of the indigenous CUS, which signified the country’s successful assimilation of the complex cryogenic rocket propulsion.

The satellite carries two meteorological payloads, viz., 6 channel imager & 19 channel sounder. It also carries a Data Relay Transponder (DRT) and Satellite Aided Search and Rescue (SA&R) payload to provide continuity to INSAT SA&R services. The satellite has started providing services to the weather and meteorological community in tandem with INSAT 3D that is already in the orbit. By virtue of these 2 satellites in orbit, the country gets weather updates every 15 minutes which is yet another unique service from space.

1.7. Successful Flight Testing of ISRO’s Scramjet Engine Technology Demonstrator: The first experimental mission of ISRO’s Scramjet Engine towards the realisation of an Air Breathing Propulsion System was successfully conducted on August 28, 2016 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. The Scramjet engine designed by ISRO uses Hydrogen as fuel and the Oxygen from the atmospheric air as the oxidiser. This marked the maiden short duration experimental test of ISRO’s Scramjet engine with a hypersonic flight at Mach 6. ISRO’s Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV), which is an advanced sounding rocket, was the solid rocket booster used for the test of Scramjet engines at supersonic conditions. ATV carrying Scramjet engines weighed 3277 kg at lift-off.

India is the fourth country to demonstrate the flight testing of Scramjet Engine. The successful technology demonstration of air-breathing Scramjet engines in flight by ISRO during the year was a modest yet important milestone in its endeavour to design and develop advanced air breathing engines including engines for ISRO’s future space transportation system

2. PSLV-C35/SCATSAT-1: By successfully launching SCATSAT-1 satellite carrying a scatterometer for wind vector measurement into the required polar Sun Synchronous Orbit in its PSLV-C35 mission on September 26, 2016, the PSLV facilitated continuity to Oceansat-2 Scatterometer, which completed its service in March 2014. The wind vector at sea surface information facilitated by SCATSAT-1 is used in weather prediction models and helps in accurate prediction of cyclone track. This launch of PSLV had yet another unique achievement of placing satellites in 2 different orbits and also the longest of the missions that lasted for more than 2 hrs 15 min after lift-off. In this mission, engine multiple restart experiment of upper stage of PSLV was also demonstrated.

2.1. PSLV-C36/Resourcesat-2A: In its 38th flight, PSLV successfully launched RESOURCESAT-2A satellite on December 7, 2016 into an 822 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit. This was PSLV’s 37th consecutive success. The 1235 kg RESOURCESAT-2A is a follow on mission to Resourcesat-2 and intended to ensure data continuity to the users for land and water resources applications. The satellite is configured with three-tier imaging capability consisting of three solid-state cameras, viz., LISS-IV, LISS-III and an Advanced Wide Field Sensor (AWiFS).

2.2. GSAT-18: The 3405 kg communication satellite GSAT-18, launched on October 6, 2016 by European Ariane V, carries a total of 48 transponders in Ku-band, C-band and Ext C-band for providing continuity of services and has further augmented the transponder capacity.

3. Disaster Management Support (DMS):

3.1. Uttarakhand Forest Fire: The Uttarakhand state witnessed episodic fire incidents during the last two weeks of April 2016. Recurrence of fire incidences is common in the hilly state in summer season. Satellite data based temperature anomalies were used for the detection of active fire locations. About 1600 active forest fire locations were recorded during April 24 to May 4, 2016. The burnt area was also assessed using Satellite data. The information on a near-real time basis was disseminated to Forest Survey of India, State Forest Departments, NDMA and SMS on fire alerts were sent to the identified forest officials of Uttarakhand. All Fire alerts were also published on BHUVAN geoportal. The most affected districts were Nainital, Pithoragarh, Champawat, Almora, Pauri and Tehri Garhwal.

3.2. Floods occurred in Assam and Manipur states during 2016. Three waves of floods were reported in Assam; first during fourth week of April, 2016, second on June 21, 2016 and third on July 4, 2016. Lakhimpur, Jorhat, Sibsagar, Charaideo, Dhemaji and Karbi Anglong districts were affected. Heavy pre-monsoon rains lashed Manipur during the last week of April 2016 and Imphal, Thoubal and Bishnupur districts were reported to be affected. The information on flood inundation was disseminated to the Central and respective State Government departments, State Relief Commissioners and nodal Ministries.

4. Mars Orbiter Mission: India’s first inter-planetary mission completed two years in its orbit around Mars. The health parameters of Mars Orbiter spacecraft are normal and all the five payloads are sending useful data. The Mars Colour Camera has produced more than 530 images so far, one of which has appeared on the cover page of the November 2016 issue of the National Geographic Magazine. The spacecraft successfully negotiated ‘whiteout’ geometry during May 18-30, 2016 using onboard autonomy. The archived data is now made public for free download and scientific research through ISRO’s website. More than 1.75 Lakh hits and about 40 GB data was downloaded in just two weeks. ISRO has also launched MOM Announcement of Opportunity (AO) programmes for researchers in the country to use the MOM data for R&D. The success of Mars Orbiter Mission has showcased India’s technical capability in exploring planetary bodies and has motivated India’s student and research community in a big way.

5. ASTROSAT Mission: ASTROSAT, India’s first multi-wavelength observatory has completed one year in orbit as of September 2016. An Announcement of Opportunity (AO) was made in June 2016 for Indian researchers to explore the universe using data from ASTROSAT. As a part of one year completion of ASTROSAT in orbit, a one-day workshop was organised at Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune on Sept 29, 2016, to highlight the technical and scientific achievements of this satellite. The first scientific set of results and the future scope of the satellite were presented during the meeting.

6. Space technology based tools in Governance & Development: Space technology applications, derived through synergistic use of earth observation, communication & navigation satellites and complemented with ground-based observations, play a key role in harnessing the benefits of space technology for socio-economic development in the country and improving the quality of life of citizens.

Satellite-based Earth Observation is a cost effective means of obtaining essential and reliable data on our Earth. Such data on natural resources have become an integral part of planning and implementation of action plans for managing land & water resources, developing urban & rural infrastructure, monitoring weather & climate, protecting environment including disaster risk reduction. The capabilities of satellite communication are also exploited for delivering societal applications towards education & health, connectivity, skill development and livelihood sustenance. Space technology-based applications & tools are being increasingly used in governance and development for enabling planning, periodic monitoring, mid-course correction, evaluation of developmental activities and scientific decision making in various sectors right from agriculture, urban & rural planning to disaster risk reduction.

Department of Space is working closely with various Central Ministries/Departments and State Governments towards maximizing the use of space technology in the various areas viz. Natural Resources Management, Energy & Infrastructure, Disaster & Early Warning, Communication & Navigation, e-Governance & Geo-spatial Governance and Societal Services. Many flagship programmes namely, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation; Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana; Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana; National Mission for Clean Ganga, Digital India & MGNREGA are also utilizing space-based tools.

ISRO is focusing on providing assured services through data continuity, improved connectivity & location-based services and enabling proactive user engagement through institutionalisation of space applications and capacity building. In a nutshell, ISRO is enabling the space applications in tune with the requirements of Ministries/Departments to enhance functional effectiveness, facilitate planning and decision making to improve governance and development.

7. Follow-up Actions on National Meet for Application of Space Technology & Tools: Out of the 160 projects emerged as an outcome of the national meet, work was initiated in 144 projects. In about 60 projects, significant progress has been made in terms of development of methodology, web and mobile applications, training and execution of work. About 75 customised web applications and 50 mobile applications were deployed. MoUs were signed with Central Ministries/Departments as well as the State Governments. Based on the request of the Ministries/ Departments for capacity building, more than 9,000 officials were trained. Additionally, Outreach programmes were also conducted in Colleges and Schools. State Meets on ‘Promoting space technology-based tools’ were completed for many States.

8. International Cooperation: As part of the ongoing civil space cooperation, cooperative Agreements/MoUs were signed with UAE space agency (February 2016); US Geological Survey (July 2016); Afghanistan (September 2016); Vietnam (September 2016); Russia (October 2016) Japan (November 2016) and NASA of USA (November 2016). India hosted the two international events, viz., i) UN/India workshop on “Use of earth observation data in disaster management and risk reduction: sharing the Asian experience” in Hyderabad in March 2016 and ii) 10th SPIE-Asia Pacific Remote Sensing Symposium (APRS) in New Delhi in April 2016. ISRO along with French space agency hosted a meeting of heads of space agencies on April, 3, 2016 in New Delhi to highlight the importance of space inputs for climate change studies. Space Agencies of India and Mexico organised a joint workshop in Mexico on use of space technology for disaster management in July 2016. Bilateral space cooperation meetings were organised with delegations of Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, the Netherlands, UK and USA.




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