The Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO is on a roll! Notwithstanding the setback faced during the soft-landing of Vikram Lander during the Chandrayaan 2 mission, ISRO has set its sight on higher goals and is pushing the boundaries in space science with every mission. While ISRO is shortlisting candidates to be part of its first manned-mission in space, it is also planning to send missions towards the Sun and Venus and even setting up India’s own space station. Here’s a list of eight amazing missions ISRO will carry out in the next decade or so:
1] Aditya – L1: This will be India’s first mission to study the Sun. Planned to be launched during the first half of 2020 using ISRO’s PSLV-XL rocket from Sriharikota, Aditya-1 will study the solar corona. It is the outer layer of the Sun which extends thousands of kilometers above the disc or photosphere. It is one of the hottest spots in the solar system where temperature ranges above a million degree Kelvin. This extremely high level of temperature is still a mystery in solar physics and Aditya -L1 will try to find an answer to that.
2] Shukrayaan: ISRO’s planned mission for Venus is scheduled for a mid-2023 launch. Venus is very similar to Earth in terms of its size, density, mass, gravity and bulk composition and is often called Earth’s “twin sister”. While the surface of Venus is one of the hottest places in the solar system, its atmosphere above the gaseous clouds is a totally different world. ISRO’s Venus mission Shukrayaan will study atmospheric chemistry, dynamics and compositional variations of Venus and also find out surface/sub surface features and re-surfacing processes.
3] Chandrayaan 3: ISRO has planned another soft-landing attempt on lunar surface with Chandrayaan 3 in November next year. After the setback of September, ISRO is preparing a detailed report on the proposed Chandrayaan 3. According to media reports, ISRO is eyeing the launch window in November 2020 and learning from its Chandrayaan 2 experience and the agency will focus on rover, lander and landing operations more this time.
4] Gaganyaan: ISRO is moving ahead with its first indigenous manned-space mission called Gaganyaan. According to reports, Ganganyaan will remain in space for seven days with three Indian astronauts who will be called “Gaganauts” for this mission. ISRO recently shortlisted 12 IAF pilots with the help of Russian experts for the mission. Gaganyaan is scheduled for lift-off in 2022.
5] Mangalyaan 2: Mars Orbiter Mission 2 or MOM-2, also known as Mangalyaan, will be India’s second inter-planetary mission to the Red Planet. It is expected to be launched in a suitable window in the near future. Mangalyaan 2 will take forward the studies conducted by Mangalyaan including exploring possibility of water and life on Mars.
6] India’s own space station: By 2030, ISRO plans to have its own space station like the International Space Station or ISS currently orbiting around the Earth. In June 2019, ISRO chief K Sivan announced that India’s space station module will be a smaller one compared to ISS and it will carry out microgravity operations.
7] NISAR: India’s ISRO and America’s NASA space agencies have decided to work together! Their joint project will be called NISAR. NISAR will study hazards and global environmental changes. NISAR is being developed to observe and measure some of the Earth’s most mind-boggling processes like ice-sheet collapse, ecosystem disturbances and natural hazards such as tsunamis, earthquakes, landslides and volcanoes.
8] Mission to study deep space: There are plans to launch a mission to study phenomenon’s beyond our solar system including black holes and pulsars, neutron stars, supernova remnants, etc.