India's HAL hands over satellite structure that is meant to support ISRO's Gaganyaan mission

Written By: Sidharth MP WION
Chennai, Tamil Nadu Updated: Apr 05, 2022, 02:02 PM(IST)

HAL hands over the first set of Gaganyaan hardware to ISRO, also PS2/GS2 stage integration facility inaugurated in Bengaluru. (Image credit: HALHQBLR). Photograph:( Twitter )

Story highlights

This structure that was handed over is meant for the IDRSS Satellite. Two of these Indian Data Relay System Satellites would be placed nearly 36,000km above the equator and will offer near-total tracking and communication with India’s space assets

India's state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) supplied to ISRO, what is being referred to as the first set of hardware for India's Human Spaceflight mission. 

According to HAL, this hardware is the Satellite bus or external structure of the satellite that is meant to provide communication support for the Gaganyaan mission. 

While the Satellite bus can be thought of as a skeleton, it attains its final form only after electronics, hardware, solar panels and other components are fitted on it. The newly handed over satellite bus also happens to be the 150th such unit being rolled out of HAL.

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Specifically, this structure that was handed over is meant for the IDRSS Satellite. Two of these Indian Data Relay System Satellites would be placed nearly 36,000km above the equator (where they would remain in sync with the earth’s rotation or at a constant position when seen from earth) and will offer near-total tracking and communication with India’s space assets. 

It must be noted that a constellation of 3 satellites positioned in a 36,000km orbit can offer real-time, 24/7 monitoring of almost the entire earth. Each IDRSS satellite weighs 2275kg and is meant to be launched by the GSLV Mk2 rocket.

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Earlier, Dr. K.Sivan, Chairman, ISRO had told WION that ISRO intends to launch two such IDRSS satellites prior to the Gaganyaan Human Spaceflight. While the Gaganyaan spacecraft would be placed in a low earth orbit, 400kms above the earth, these two IDRSS satellites would help Indian astronauts communicate with the ground stations. 

For context, when Gaganyaan is orbiting the earth, but not visible to the ground stations, Gaganyaan can send its signals and communicate with the IDRSS satellites up above, which in turn would relay it down to the ground stations and vice versa. This would ensure constant communication between the astronauts and their mission control on earth.

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R.Madhavan, Chairman and Managing Director of HAL recalled the organization's four-decade-long association with ISRO and how it is poised to play a bigger role in the integration of ISRO's rockets. "We will continue to be a reliable partner of ISRO with dedication, devotion and zeal" he added. 

HAL also inaugurated a new facility that is meant to integrate the PS2 and GS2 stages of India's PSLV and GSLV rockets, respectively. The PS2 and GS2 stages serve as the second stages of India's launch vehicles PSLV and GSLV respectively and are powered by a Vikas engine, which uses liquid fuels.

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The most ambitious programme of ISRO, Gaganyaan or the Human Spaceflight programme has been delayed to the COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant impact on industries and restrictions. ISRO is expected to have the first unmanned flight of Gaganyaan by end of 2022 or early 2023. This will be followed up by one or two additional unmanned flights and the manned attempt.

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