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RSTV: SCIENCE MONITOR 6.3.2021

RSTV


ISRO’s first mission in 2021-Amazonia +18 satellites:

  • ISRO successfully launched Brazil’s optical earth observation satellite, Amazonia-1, and 18 co-passenger satellites from India [5] and the U.S.A. [13] from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR) at Sriharikota.
  • The satellites were carried on board the PSLV-C51, the 53rd flight of India’s workhorse launch vehicle and the first dedicated mission for New Space India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of ISRO.
  • The mission was undertaken under a commercial arrangement with Spaceflight Inc., USA.
  • The PSLV-C51, equipped with two solid strap-on boosters, the third such launch of the PSLV-DL variant, lifted off from the first launch pad at Sriharikota.
  • PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 is the first dedicated commercial mission of New Space India Limited (NSIL), a Government of India company under Department of Space.
  • New Space India Limited (NSIL), the newly created second commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation, has bagged its first contract.
  • The establishment of NSIL was announced in Budget 2019. One of the mandates of NSIL is to mass-produce and manufacture the SSLV and the more powerful PSLV in partnership with the private sector in India through technology transfers.
  • Its aim is to use research and development carried out by ISRO over the years for commercial purposes through Indian industry partners.
  • It differs from ISRO’s existing commercial arm Antrix Corporation. Antrix will handle ISRO’s commercial deals for satellites and launch vehicles with foreign customers.
  • NSIL will deal with capacity building of local industry for space manufacturing.

Made in India spectrograph at DOT:

  • Indian Scientists have indigenously designed and developed a low-cost optical spectrograph that can locate sources of faint light from distant quasars and galaxies in a very young universe, regions around supermassive black-holes around the galaxies, and cosmic explosions.
  • Such spectroscopes were so far imported from abroad involved high costs. The ‘Made in India’ optical spectrograph named as Aries-Devasthal Faint Object Spectrograph & Camera (ADFOSC), indigenously designed and developed by Aryabhatta Research Institute of observational sciences (ARIES), Nainital, an autonomous institute of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, is about 2.5 times less costly compared to the imported ones and can locate sources of light with a photon-rate as low as about 1 photon per second.
  • The spectroscope, the largest of its kind among the existing astronomical spectrographs in the country, has been successfully commissioned on the 3.6-m Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT), the largest in the country and in Asia, near Nainital Uttarakhand.
  • This instrument, a backbone of the 3.6-m DOT for observations of extremely faint celestial sources, uses a complex arrangement of several lenses made of special glasses, polished to better than 5-nanometer smoothness to produce sharp images of the celestial sky. Photons coming from distant celestial sources, collected by the telescope, are sorted into different colors by the spectrograph and are finally converted into electronic recordable signals using an in-house developed Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) camera cooled to an extremely low temperature of -120 0 The total cost of this instrument is nearly Rs. 4 Crore.
  • The spectrograph is presently being used by astronomers from India and abroad to study distant quasars and galaxies in a very young universe, regions around supermassive black-holes around the galaxies, cosmic explosions like supernovae and highly energetic Gamma-ray bursts, young and massive stars, and faint dwarf galaxies.
  • The indigenous efforts to build complex instruments like ADFOSC in India is an important step to become ‘Aatmanirbhar’ in the field of astronomy & astrophysics.
  • Expertise from various national institutes, organizations, including the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and some micro-small-medium-enterprises, were involved to review and build parts of the instrument serving as an example of effective collaboration. With this expertise, ARIES now plans to commission more complex instruments such as spectro-polarimeter and high spectral resolution spectrograph on the 3.6-m Devasthal telescope in the near future.