ISRO's Chandrayaan-3, Aditya L-1 Solar Mission To Avail ESA's Support Under Special Deal
ISRO, which is preparing for three major missions in 2022, will receive ground support from the European Space Agency under a deal signed in June 2021.
In a key development, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which is preparing for three major missions in 2022, will receive ground support from the European Space Agency (ESA). The assistance will be provided under a special agreement that was signed in June 2021 between ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher and ISRO's former Chairman K Sivan. The European agency announced that it would use its global deep-space communication antennas for ISRO to track Indian spacecraft, pinpointing their locations at crucial stages, transmitting commands and receiving valuable data.
The agency stated that its 35-metre deep-space Estrack antennas, ranging from Australia to Argentina would guide ISRO at every step. The 15-metre antenna at Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana's Kourou and the commercial 32-metre deep-space antenna at Goonhilly station in the UK would also be used for additional support.
ISRO's gears up for Chandrayaan-3 and Aditya L-1
While ISRO's pipeline is filled with three biggest missions this year- Gaganyaan, Chandrayaan-3 and Aditya L-1 solar mission, the last two are what would test ESA's commitment first. The Chandrayaan-3, which is targeted for launch in August this year, would mark India's first-ever successful landing on another celestial body. Under this mission, ISRO would launch a lander and a rover, to scan the Moon's south pole for two weeks.
Ramesh Chellathurai, ESA Service Manager and Liaison Officer for ISRO, said as per the European agency, "Deep space communication is an essential part of any space mission. Ground stations keep spacecraft safely connected to Earth as they venture into the unknowns and risks of space. Without ground station support, it’s impossible to get any data from a spacecraft, to know how it’s doing, to know if it is safe or even to know where it is".
Another mission to be benefitted from the agreement would be the Aditya-L1 mission, wherein ISRO will launch a spacecraft to the first Lagrange point- about 15 lakh kilometres from Earth. The spacecraft is being launched deep into space in order to study a number of solar properties, such as the dynamics and origins of coronal mass ejections. Explaining the importance of a global network of antennae for this mission, Chellathurai explained, "The (Aditya) spacecraft will always be in the same direction from Earth as the Sun. So, as Earth rotates, no single ground station will always be in view of Aditya-L1. Using a global station network like ESA’s is the best way to exchange data and commands with this spacecraft as often as possible".
ESA supports Indian lunar and solar missions
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is launching two pioneering scientific spacecraft this year, one to study the Sun, and one to land on the Moon – the nation’s first soft landing on another celestial body.
ESA’s global deep-space communication antennas will provide essential support to both missions every step of the way, tracking the spacecraft, pinpointing their locations at crucial stages, transmitting commands and receiving ‘telemetry’ and valuable science data.
In June 2021, ESA and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) signed an agreement to provide technical support to each other, including tracking and communication services to upcoming Indian space missions via ESA’s ground stations.
The first missions to benefit from this new support agreement will enable India look to the Sun and the Moon with the Aditya-L1 solar observatory and Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander and rover, both due to launch in 2022 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota Range (SDSC SHAR), India.
“Deep space communication is an essential part of any space mission,” says Ramesh Chellathurai, ESA Service Manager and ESA Liaison Officer for ISRO. “Ground stations keep spacecraft safely connected to Earth as they venture into the unknowns and risks of space. Without ground station support, it’s impossible to get any data from a spacecraft, to know how it’s doing, to know if it is safe or even to know where it is.”
A place in the Sun
The Aditya-L1 solar observatory is named for the Hindu Sun god, Aditya, and the spacecraft’s future home, L1 – the first Lagrange point of the Earth-Sun system. It will study a number of properties of the Sun, such as the dynamics and origins of coronal mass ejections.
Its home at L1 will allow Aditya to orbit the Sun at an almost constant distance from Earth, but without the planet ever eclipsing its view of our star.
“The spacecraft will always be in the same direction from Earth as the Sun,” says Ramesh. “So, as Earth rotates, no single ground station will always be in view of Aditya-L1. Using a global station network like ESA’s is the best way to exchange data and commands with this spacecraft as often as possible.”
ESA is one of the only agencies in the world with a network of deep space ground stations located across the planet. The Estrack network lets it track and communicate with spacecraft anytime and in any direction, up to two billion kilometres from Earth.
The ‘big iron’ 35-metre deep space Estrack antennas, located in New Norcia, Australia, Malargüe, Argentina, and Cebreros, Spain, will all support Aditya-L1. Additional support will be provided by ESA’s 15-metre antenna at Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, and the commercial 32-metre deep space antenna at Goonhilly station in the UK.
The combined ESA and Goonhilly antennas will provide tracking, telemetry and command (TT&C) support for Aditya-L1, with ISRO’s deep space antennas in India providing additional communication time.
Data and telemetry sent back by Aditya-L1 arriving via any of the ground stations will be forwarded to ESA’s ESOC mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany. From there, they will be sent to ISRO’s ISTRAC facility for analysis.
ESA’s involvement in the mission has already begun. ISRO’s flight dynamics team tested the software they will use to precisely determine the location and orbit of Aditya-L1 on ESA’s Gaia observatory. ESA’s flight dynamics experts then used their decades of experience flying spacecraft across the Solar System to validate this software by comparing ISRO’s results to their own measurements.
Meanwhile, radio frequency compatibility tests important to ensure the hardware used by both agencies can work together took place in December 2021.
Guide me to the Moon
The support to Aditya-L1 was soon extended to ISRO’s upcoming Chandrayaan-3 – “Moon craft” – mission to study the lunar surface at the Moon’s south pole.
The mission comprises a lander and rover, which will spend two weeks conducting scientific and technical operations on the surface. Chandrayaan-3 would be India’s first successful soft landing on another celestial body – a major milestone for any space programme.
ESA’s Kourou antenna and the Goonhilly station will be added to the NASA deep space stations supporting the mission and provide similar support to Chandrayaan-3 as they will to Aditya-L1.
The ESA station support for both Aditya L1 and Chandrayaan-3 begins with the critical launch and early orbit phase and continues to the end of both missions, if required by ISRO.
India and space
ISRO was formed in 1969 and is headquartered in the city of Bengaluru. It operates a launch site and a deep space ground station located within India.
The Organisation was among ESA’s first international partners in the 1970’s, with initial cooperation culminating in the provision of ESA instruments for ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter mission, launched in 2008.
Follow @esaoperations on Twitter for updates on ESA’s support to Aditya-L1 and Chandrayaan-3.
Isro gives first glimpse of Chandrayaan-3 lunarcraft; mission launch due in August
Quelle: The Times of India
Chandrayaan-3 pushed to 2023, launch to Moon likely in June
The initial plan was to launch the Chandrayaan-3 mission in the third quarter of 2022. However, the mission has been further delayed.
- The Chandrayaan-3 mission was to launch in August this year
- The work on Chandrayaa-2's successor was earlier affected due to Covid
- Chandrayaan-2 mission crash-landed on the far side of the Moon
By India Today Web Desk: The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is set to launch its third mission to the Moon in June of next year. S Somnath, Chairman of the Indian space agency said that Chandrayaan-3 will liftoff in 2023 with a more robust lunar rover onboard which is crucial for future inter-planetary explorations.
"Chandrayaan-3 (C-3) launch will be in June next year onboard the Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle Mark-III (GSLV Mk-III)," S Somnath said, adding that the space agency is also working on the Gaganyaan mission and the first abort test is also scheduled in the new year.
The space agency chief said that while the mission will rely on the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, which is already working around the Moon, the Chandrayaan-3 rover is not a replica of its predecessor. "C-3 is ready now. It is not a replica of the C-2. The rover is there. The engineering is significantly different. We have made it more robust so that it does not have problems like last time," Somnath said.
Quelle: INDIA TODAY