On 7th March 2023, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully carried out an extremely challenging controlled re-entry experiment of the decommissioned orbiting Megha-Tropiques-1 (MT-1) satellite in an uninhabited area in the Pacific Ocean between 5 degrees south(°S) to 14°S latitude and 119° West(W) to 100°W longitude.
- It was carried out from the Mission Operations Complex in ISTRAC (ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network), Bengaluru (Karnataka).
i.The final two de-boost burns were executed by firing four 11 Newton thrusters on-board the satellite.
ii.The satellite entered the denser layers of the Earth’s atmosphere and subsequently underwent structural disintegration.
iii.There are no surviving large debris fragments of the satellite, as confirmed by the re-entry aero-thermal flux analysis
This low Earth satellite, weighing about 1000 kg, was launched on October 12, 2011, as a joint satellite venture of ISRO and the French space agency, CNES for tropical weather and climate studies. Its mission life was to 3 years, but continued to provide valuable data services for more than a decade supporting regional and global climate models till 2021.
- However, since August 2022, the satellite’s perigee was progressively lowered through a series of 20 manoeuvres, spending about 120 kg of fuel.
Why is controlled re-entry of satellites required?
The United Nations (UN)/Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) space debris mitigation guidelines recommend deorbiting a LEO (Low Earth Orbit) object at its end-of-life, preferably through controlled re-entry to a safe impact zone, or by bringing it to an orbit where the orbital lifetime is less than 25 years.
ISRO conducts Parachute Tests for Gaganyaan Mission
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has conducted ‘Rail Track Rocket Sled’ deployment tests of the Gaganyaan Pilot and Apex Cover Separation (ACS) parachutes in cluster configurations at the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL), Chandigarh on 1st and 3rd March 2023.
- These tests are part of preparations for the Gaganyaan Human Space Flight Mission which is approved by the Central Government in 2018 as India’s first manned space mission to take astronauts to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and bring them back safely.
Recent Related News:
i.On 5th January 2023, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Microsoft India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support and promote the growth of space technology startups in India.
ii.On February 10, 2023, ISRO launched the 2nd edition of the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV-D2) from the first launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh (AP).
About Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO):
Chairman– S. Somanath
Headquarters– Bengaluru, Karnataka