Aditya-L1, India’s first solar mission, will be one of ISRO’s missions next year

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has planned 38 missions -- 19 launches and 19 satellites -- for next year, according to the annual report of the Department of Space released on Monday.

The missions for next year will include India’s first solar mission Aditya L1 and first unmanned flight under the Human Spaceflight Program.

This is six more missions than the ones scheduled for 2019.

Apart from the big-ticket Chandrayaan 2 mission, which was launched on July 22 and is scheduled to land on the moon on September 7, ISRO had planned 32 missions for the year.

This will include three missions of the new small satellite launch vehicles, which is being developed for launching small, micro and nano satellites weighing upto 500 kgs at low cost and less development time for the vehicle.

The scheduled missions also include nine earth observation satellites, three communications satellite, nine missions on India’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV, and two on the heavier GSLV-MK-II.

So far, ISRO has launched one intelligence gathering and one earth observation satellite aboard two PSLVs apart from Chandrayaan 2 since April 2019.

As far as the number of missions is concerned, 2019 is a big year for ISRO, with the space agency almost doubling the number of missions from the 17 missions in 2018.

The first big ticket mission in 2020 would be the Aditya L1 mission slated for the first half of the year. The mission will see India send a satellite to the L1 point between the Sun and the Earth from where it will study the visible surface of the Sun, the irregular layer above it, and the extremely hot layer of plasma extending to thousands of kilometre above it.

L1 or Lagrangian point 1 is a point between the Sun and the Earth where the gravitational pull of both the bodies felt by the satellite is equal to the centripetal force required to keep it in that orbit.

ISRO also plans to launch the first unmanned flight to the low earth orbit in December 2020. This will be followed by another unmanned flight in July 2021, with the crewed spacecraft being scheduled for December 2021 under India’s human spaceflight programme.

For the human spaceflight program, India’s space agency has signed an MoU with the Russian Roscosmos for cooperation in various aspects of sending human beings to space.

Russia was the first country to send humans in Space with Yuri Gagarin completing one orbit around the Earth on April 12, 1961.

ISRO and Roscosmos have formed joint working groups for areas like life support systems needed for the human spaceflight programme, astronaut training, personal hygiene and waste management systems on-board, spacesuit, and human rating guidelines for the crew modules taking humans to space, the report said.