After a rather muted 2021 in terms of satellite launches, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up for a number of missions in 2022 including the launch of the first unmanned mission of Gaganyaan.
India’s premier space agency will be looking for better days in 2022 as it plans to speed up several missions that have been delayed due to successive lockdowns in 2021. Isro has already hinted that there will be more launches, enhanced bilateral cooperation and possibly a new era will be ushered for space science in 2022.
Here are the big-ticket missions that are scheduled for 2022 by Isro:
GAGANYAAN TO TAKE WINGS
India’s ambitious Gaganyaan mission that aims to send the first batch of Indian astronauts into space on an indigenous developed spacecraft will see a renewed push in 2022 as Isro conducts the first uncrewed launch. The space agency will conduct the test vehicle flight for the validation of Crew Escape System performance and the first uncrewed mission of Gaganyaan at the beginning of the second half of 2022.
The second uncrewed mission has been scheduled for the end of 2022 after which, three Indian Air Force officers, undergoing training, will launch into space. Four IAf officers have been selected for the mission, whose identities remain confidential. Science & Technology Minister Dr Jitendra Singh had said earlier this month that the program got slightly delayed due to Covid restrictions, but preparations are now in full swing to achieve the mission by 2023. He said that the objective of the Gaganyaan programme is to demonstrate the capability to send humans to low earth orbit (LEO) onboard an Indian launch vehicle and bring them back to earth safely.
ADITYA L1 MISSION TO SUN
India’s maiden mission to study the Sun, Aditya L1 will be launched in 2022 after being delayed by a year due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Aditya-L1 mission is expected to be inserted in a halo orbit around the Lagrange point 1 (L1) – which is 15,00,000 kilometres away from Earth. Aditya, which is the Sanskrit word for ‘sun’ — will be ISRO’s second high-profile space mission after it launched its Mars orbiter in 2013.
CHANDRAYAAN-3 TO CARRY FORWARD MOON MISSION LEGACY
Isro will launch the ambitious Chandrayaan-3 mission in the third quarter of 2022 after work was delayed due to Covid-19 led lockdowns. The mission was slated to launch in 2021. The Chandrayaan-3 takes cues from the first Chandrayaan mission launched in October 2008 that made major discoveries including finding evidence of water on the lunar surface.The third moon mission comes two years after the Chandrayan – 2 crash-landed on the far side of the Moon.
While the lander and the rover crashed, the orbiter is still hovering above the lunar surface and Isro plans to use it with Chandrayaan-3 as well. Isro chief K Sivan has said, “We are working on it. It is the same configuration as Chandrayaan-2 but it will not have an orbiter. The orbiter launched during Chandrayaan-2 will be used for Chandrayaan-3. With that, we are working on a system and mostly the launch will be next year in 2022.”
SSLV TO MAKE INDIA HOT-SPOT FOR LOW-COST LAUNCHES
With India emerging as a hot spot for launching satellites to low-Earth Orbit, Isro is developing the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV). The space agency will conduct the maiden launch in the first quarter of 2022. The SSLV will provide a payload capability of 500 kilograms to a 500-kilometre planar orbit. By comparison, the PSLV — the workhorse of Isro — can take up to a 1,750-kilogram payload into SSO of 600 km altitude. Centre has provided Rs 169 crores for developing SSLV, which is a three-stage all solid vehicle with options of mounting multiple satellites including nano and micro.