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Nilgiri

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I had anticipated that this capability will be derived from the SSLV rocket being developed by ISRO - did not expect the defence agency DRDO (which builds missiles) to take this program forward.

DRDO actually makes much more sense. Precisely because they are tied into Indian MIC much more.

They have commensurately larger network of testing and qualification sites for the many subcomponents. Harnessing from the BMD program like you have mentioned makes a huge deal of sense.


With modern Hall thrusters and their Xenon fuel, traditional liquid-fueled motors (which would have prevented such long-term storage options) are no longer necessary even for Orbital Maneuvering (up to a point anyway).

These can all be tested with some launches of the system going forward (to test everything out at smaller scale). An array of launching infra (and support infra) must also be tested with worst case scenario of main launch sites put out of commision.

Liquid fuel for fuel thrusters may not be deal breaker, it all depends on the infra you develop robustly and the final costs/reliabilities involved. Provisioning say hydrazine in-situ just before launch etc.


by the newly formed Defence Space Agency.
Speaking of which, this is something I envisioned a long long time ago....gosh must have been early 2000s (when ISRO started to really capture my imagination on things).

I foresaw something like a 4th branch for the defence services...and large amount of strategic missiles/rockets and BMD are put under it....along with the space systems.
 

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Liquid fuel for fuel thrusters may not be deal breaker, it all depends on the infra you develop robustly and the final costs/reliabilities involved. Provisioning say hydrazine in-situ just before launch etc.

I was speaking from the point of view of long-term storage inside hermetically-sealed canisters.

Mate the payloads, fill the xenon, and lock it up in a ready-to-launch canister for when the time comes. Like BMs, they would probably be opened up from time to time for inspection.
 

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Isro's scramjet propulsion flight tech demonstrator,interesting that isro has been pretty silent about the progress.
We already know that the program was mixed into hava and tsto,with somnath sir saying the test flight of hava might happen next year or so
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He also said that they partnered with Boeing on such project.
 

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Nilgiri

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View attachment 32490View attachment 32491
Isro's scramjet propulsion flight tech demonstrator,interesting that isro has been pretty silent about the progress.
We already know that the program was mixed into hava and tsto,with somnath sir saying the test flight of hava might happen next year or so
View attachment 32492

View attachment 32493

Its good thing. I find they get lot more done when they go silent mode for sometime.....brains and cogs whirring. Then they check out in tests and thats when theres sudden rush of soundbites at same time.

Anyway there is dedicated thread on India scramjet and hypersonic you can read and populate as you want:

 

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ISRO recently released (for world space week) a whole bunch of videos that may be of interest to some (can pick and choose what interests you)...regarding the space technology domain and some of the Indian context for it:





 

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India's PSLV & GSLV Mk-III Rockets To Join The OneWeb Launch Program

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London, U.K., and New Delhi, India - 11 October 2021: Bharti-backed OneWeb, the low Earth orbit satellite communications company, today announced an arrangement through Letter of Intent with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), to use the Indian-built PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) and the heavier GSLV-MkIII (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) as potential platforms to launch OneWeb’s satellites in India from 2022.

The non-binding Letter of Intent was unveiled at the launch of Indian Space Association (ISpA) in the presence of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Sh. Narendra Modi. OneWeb is amongst the founding members of ISpA, which strives to be the collective voice of space and satellite companies in India and will work with stakeholders across for the development of India’s space ecosystem.

OneWeb is building its initial
constellation of 648 LEO satellites and has already put 322 satellites into orbit. Services will begin this year to the Arctic region including Alaska, Canada, and the U.K.

By late 2022, OneWeb will offer its high-speed, low latency connectivity services in India and the rest of the world. Service testing on the satellites already in orbit is underway. The results are positive, including seamless satellite and beam handovers, high speeds and low latency.

20210325_OneWeb_webpage_edit.jpg


OneWeb and NSIL will expeditiously convert the Letter of Intent into a binding agreement after obtaining all necessary approvals from their respective Boards.

Comments OneWeb Chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal: “ISRO has built formidable launch capabilities and India is part of the select group of countries to have history of successful launches. OneWeb will be delighted to use ISRO’s proven platforms to fulfil its vision of taking broadband connectivity across the earth, oceans and sky. We believe this initiative will further the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of making India a key hub in the global space ecosystem and also boost the India-U.K. strategic partnership. We look forward to a deeper engagement with NSIL/ISRO over the coming years.”

Says Dr. K. Sivan, Chairman of ISRO: “We are delighted to have OneWeb looking into how our launch capabilities can help meet their global ambition to connect people everywhere. We are making tremendous progress and India is advancing its space capabilities and we look forward to working together.”

OneWeb will undertake its 11th launch on the 14th of October with a further 36 satellites on board. In under a year, the company has passed the halfway stage of its first generation constellation with 322 satellites now in space.


+++

As an aside, the Indian telecom conglomerate Bharti Enterprises is the biggest shareholder of OneWeb with 38.6% shares. The other major investors are the UK Government, Japan's SoftBank & Paris-based Eutelsat, each holding 19.3%. Smaller shares are held by US company Hughes Network Systems & South Korea's Hanwha.

🇬🇧🇮🇳🇯🇵🇫🇷🇺🇸🇰🇷
 

Nilgiri

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 11 launched the Indian Space Association (ISpA) – the premier industry association of space and satellite companies.

He said: “Today is the day the Indian space sector receives new wings. For 75 years since independence, Indian space has been dominated by a single umbrella of Indian government and government institutions. Scientists of India have made huge achievements in these decades, but the need of the hour is that there should be no restrictions on Indian talent, whether it is in the public sector or in the private sector.

In a way, the country has given a new gift to the talent of India’s entrepreneurs by opening up India’s space sector in its 75th year of independence. Let this collective power of India’s population take the space sector forward in an organized manner. The Indian Space Association (ISpA) will play a huge role in this.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the virtual launch of Indian Space Association (ISpA), on October 11. (via ISRO)

ISpA aims at contributing to the government’s vision of making India “Atmanirbhar” (self-reliant) and a global leader in the space arena, which is fast emerging as the next growth frontier for mankind.

The association is supposed to engage with stakeholders across the ecosystem for the formulation of an enabling policy framework that will also work towards building global linkages for the Indian space industry to bring in critical technology and investments.

Its founding members include Bharti Airtel, Larson & Toubro, Nelco (Tata Group), OneWeb, Mapmyindia, Walchandnagar Industries, and Alpha Design Technologies. Other core members include Godrej, Hughes India, Ananth Technology Limited, Azista-BST Aerospace Private Limited, BEL, Centum Electronics, and Maxar India.

India Lagging Behind

According to ISRO, the current size of the global space economy stands at about $360 billion. However, India accounts for only about 2% of the space economy with a potential to capture 9% of the global market share by 2030. This needs to change.

And here comes the role of the IAF in safeguarding the space economy, among other reasons. With the increasing private sector activities in space, such as the launching of commercial satellites, the introduction of ‘space tourism’, asteroid mining of minerals, and a range of other fascinating stuff, these space assets of the country need protection from the enemy forces.

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India’s PSLV rocket carrying Brazil’s Amazonia-1 and 18 other satellites lifts off from Sriharikota, on February 28, 2021.

This explains why many countries have been creating their respective “space forces”. The US created one in 2019, with the space force becoming a new military branch to protect the nation’s satellites and other space assets, which are vital to everything from national security to day-to-day communications. The United Kingdom, France, Canada, and Japan are said to be following suit.

Last month, Germany announced the development of a military space command. China’s “Strategic Support Force”, established in 2015, takes care of its space assets. And Russia since 2015 has had dedicated “Russian Aerospace Forces”.

India’s Defence Space Agency

It is against this background that Prime Minister Modi had in 2018 announced the government’s intention to create the Defence Space Agency (DSA) by integrating space assets from the army, navy, and air force. It was formally set up in 2019 with a staff of some 200 officers drawn from the three services, commanded by an air force officer.

It took over the Defence Imagery Processing and Analysis Centre and the Defence Satellite Control Centre.

In fact, the DSA conducted its first integrated space warfare exercise in July 2019, bringing together personnel from across the services. It “focused on using communications and reconnaissance satellites to integrate intelligence and fires across the range of Indian military assets, indicating a firm understanding of the necessity of access to space.”

Defense-space


Image for representational purposes only. (via Twitter)

However, the DSA is still a work in progress. It is yet to become fully operational. It is to be located in Delhi and supposed to work closely with the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and ISRO to integrate military assets, surveillance platforms such as the AWACS and AEW&C, and commercial and military satellites for intelligence sharing across all three services.

It may be noted that satellites are vitally important to modern warfare as they are a key communication link for ground, sea, and airborne assets, which require sufficient data for voice and data communication. The DSA, therefore, is also expected to play a greater role in enunciating the planned policies for space-based assets, allowing Indian agencies and companies to work towards meeting these requirements.


A 2016 report on ‘Exploiting Indian Military Capacity in Outer Space’ by the Centre for Joint Warfare Studies (CENJOWS), states that while indigenous satellites provide an adequate capability, “but despite these, India does not get uninterrupted observation of the interested area which is possible only if India launches constellation of satellites for observation which is an emerging trend.”

However, it did not mean that India never had dedicated satellites for military purposes before. India had created an “Integrated Space Cell” in June 2008 under the command of the Integrated Defence Services Headquarters with the responsibility to coordinate activities of ISRO and the Indian Armed forces.

Integrating Space Assets

By 2017, India had reportedly some 14 satellites that were being used for surveillance purposes. This number must have gone up by now, with the country developing ASAT (Anti-satellite) capability, though it is said to be in a nascent stage.

Besides, India’s National Technical Research Organization (NTRO), which is controlled by the Research and Analysis Wing, India’s premier intelligence agency, makes extensive use of IRS (Indian Remote Satellites), RISAT (Radar Imaging Satellites), and CARTOSAT (optical earth observation satellites) data to aid in building a comprehensive intelligence picture.

All this makes it clear why the Indian government has now realized the need for integrating space assets and capabilities. But, the IAF had realized this very well by publishing in 2012 “Basic Doctrine of the Indian Air Force, 2012”.

In it, the IAF repeatedly mentioned “air and space power”. The doctrine was not talking of “air power” in isolation of “space power”; it talked of “aerospace power”.

However, the problem has been that while the IAF has been very clear that it has an aerospace role and in this task, it needs the help of the ISRO, the latter has not been that enthusiastic to join hands, at least publicly.

As India is a signatory to the international treaty that outlaws military activities (Outer Space Treaty) in space, a common property of mankind, the ISRO seems to have taken a too legalistic view of abhorring the IAF.


But then the fact is that the Outer Space Treaty has been the subject of diplomatic wrangles over the precise definition of space weapons, other than nuclear weapons.

Besides, there has been no transparency on the part of major world powers in keeping the outer space free from military activities, with the result that one hears concepts like “Star Wars” (Strategic Defence Initiative) by the US and anti satellites (ASAT) by Russia.

In any case, it is a fact that the US and its allies have used space resources extensively in fighting recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

All told, contrary to the conventional wisdom, the aerospace power of the IAF will protect the space tools like satellites that are used by the ISRO to augment the country’s economic and scientific power. And this will be possible when there is the capacity to destroy the adversary’s space weapons, based in space, air, land, and water.

Secondly, developing aerospace power does not necessarily mean that there will be war. In most cases, augmented power or strength will ensure that the enemy will not dare to attack you.

Instead of being a frontier now, space complements airpower in numerous missions as an enabler. That is why analysts say that air and space should be complementary components of defense so that they compensate for each other’s inadequacies in maintaining surveillance of the vertical dimension and in countering threats from systems like ballistic missiles that transit and maneuver through both air and space. They must be integrated so that the diverse and yet potent elements of air and space are networked adequately.

Now that the space sector is being opened up by the Modi government, it is hoped that such a network will be a reality, sooner rather than later.

  • Author and veteran journalist Prakash Nanda has been commenting on politics, foreign policy on strategic affairs for nearly three decades. A former National Fellow of the Indian Council for Historical Research and recipient of the Seoul Peace Prize Scholarship, he is also a Distinguished Fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. CONTACT: [email protected]
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@Nilgiri - I'm wondering, should we split the civilian & military-related space developments into separate threads? Or too early?

We will keep it together for now....there is lot of military stuff in here already.....

If you want you can create a DSA dedicated thread etc...maybe in strategic programs....and later I will bring stuff over to there.

Up to you.
 

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) could use low-cost launch vehicles developed by the Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) for lifting off small satellites from within the country.

In an exclusive conversation with indiatoday.in, Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairperson of UAE Space Agency, said that the two nations are looking at a wide variety of scientific cooperation in the space sector.

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The HOPE spacecraft of the UAESA is currently orbiting Mars - The satellite was launched onboard a Japanese H-IIA rocket and made UAE the 5th country to have a spacecraft in Martian orbit, after the United States, USSR/Russia, European Union & India

"We spoke during the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) with ISRO, looking at different aspects that are important to both countries. ISRO provides a low-cost launch capacity that we would like to explore for smaller satellites launching out of UAE," the UAE Space Agency chief said.

India has been known worldwide for its cost-effective missions to Moon and Mars and its success ratio in launching satellites with its indigenous launch vehicles. ISRO is working with four categories of launch vehicles. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) that can liftoff a payload of 3,800 kilograms to Low-earth orbit & 1,750 kilograms to Sun-synchronous orbit, while the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-II (GSLV Mk II) has a liftoff capacity of 2,500 kilograms in the geostationary orbit and above 5,000 kilogram capacity for low Earth orbit.

Meanwhile, the GSLV Mk-III is a three-stage heavy-lift launch vehicle with a lift-off mass of 640 tonnes and a Low-earth payload capacity of nearly 10,000 kilograms. It was GSLV Mk-III-M1 that successfully injected Chandrayaan-2 into Earth Parking Orbit on July 22, 2019.

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Long Exposure shot of PSLV-C44, the 46th launch mission of the venerable PSLV platform, carrying the classified Microsat-R payload in early 2019. Pic credit: Arunvenkats via Reddit

India is part of the IAC and recently participated in the Dubai Expo, which is underway in the Emirates, where it showed its launch capability and its progress in the maiden manned mission Gaganyaan.

"In a wider aspect of space, there is cooperation there," Sarah Al Amiri said on the relation between the two countries. Sarah Al Amiri added that from a scientific point of view, earth observation, farming, climate change are important to both countries and that's an area the UAE is looking to exchange data on.

Meanwhile, scientists from India can access data from the Emirates Mars Mission, she added.

Earlier this year, the UAE joined an elite list of countries when it successfully placed its Amal (Hope) probe in Mars' orbit. The probe has been relaying data back, observing the planet's atmosphere.

“The probe is functioning very well, and from a scientific perspective, we are receiving the data that we expected. We found two scientific observations that will have a significant impact on the understanding of planetary atmospheres. First is the probe's ability to observe auroras on Mars and second is its observation of concentration of oxygen, which is different in the atmosphere from what we had theorised," Sarah Al Amiri said.

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The SSLV - A new solid-fuel launch vehicle being developed by ISRO for low cost & increased frequency of space access

The UAE is emerging as a major player in the space sector and the country recently announced its plans to explore Venus and the asteroid belt swarming between Mars and Jupiter. The mission is being hailed as the next big thing in the Arab world, which has tasted victory with the Hope probe that is successfully orbiting Mars about 300 million kilometres away.

The oil-rich federation will collect data from the asteroid and try to understand the origins of the universe and solve the biggest mystery in astronomy-- how did it all begin?


++++

@Philip the Arab @Nilgiri @Cabatli_53 @Test7 @Paro
 

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Comments:

I believe cooperation between India & UAE can be mutually beneficial in the space sector. India may be able to provide UAE what it needs to quickly acquire & set up a domestic launch industry (note, quickly is in rocket science terms) by making UAE a partner in the SSLV program. The solid-fuel design of this rocket system will act as an enabler for reducing infrastructure & human resource needs that would be required to set up in the UAE (as opposed to a liquid-fueled system). Entire stages including fuel/oxidizer assemblies & rocket motors may be shipped from India without much hassle, at least until UAE starts making its own.

Also, I would love it if the UAESA would engage in platforms like INSPACe and ISpA, industry bodies in India that could help the UAE to invest in Private-sector Launch Vehicle programs currently under development by various start-up companies in India - Skyroot Aerospace & Agnikul Cosmos chief among them. These companies have secured investments in the neighbourhood of $10-15 million from VCs so far, but will require much more in future.

It could be mutually beneficial if the UAE decides to invest (and perhaps acquire a stake) in one or more of these companies, in an effort to ensure a pragmatic development program that isn't tied down by excessive government regulation.

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Vikram series of Launch Vehicles under development by Skyroot Aerospace. Various solid & liquid motor stages have been tested so far.
 
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India’s first manned ocean mission ‘Samudrayan’ was launched here on Friday by Union Minister Jitendra Singh and with this the nation joined an elite club of nations having such underwater vehicles for carrying out subsea activities.

The nation has made huge progress in science and technology and when an Indian goes up into space as part of the Gaganyaan programme, another would dive deep into the ocean, the Minister said.

The Minister tweeted,”Launched India’s First Manned Ocean Mission #Samudrayan at #Chennai. India joins elite club of select nations USA, Russia, Japan, France & China having such underwater vehicles.A new chapter opens to explore ocean resources for drinking water, clean energy & blue economy.”


In his launch address at the National Institute of Ocean Technology here, Singh said the mission does not only increase the scientific capacity but also gives the nation a sense of esteem that “we are doing something which is no less than any other country of the world.”

“What we are actually contributing is not only confined to the realms of scientific work, it is actually contributing to building of India’s national esteem,” he said at the event that also coincided with the institution’s foundation day celebrations.

“Very soon, may be in a year or two, we have a man going deep into the ocean, and I was telling the other day to some of the scientists from ISRO that it was a strange coincidence because Gaganyaan has got delayed.”

“It was to be launched somewhere by the end of this year or before the next Independence day. I said it was God’s will, now we have one man going up in space and one in the ocean simultaneously. The delay in Gaganyaan has virtually timed it with your deep sea mission. So when an Indian goes up into the space, same time, an Indian will go deep into the ocean. See what a huge progress,” the Minister said.

An official release said the Matsya 6000 under Samudrayan initiative is capable of carrying three human beings in titanium alloy personnel sphere of 2.1 metre diameter enclosed space with an endurance of 12 hours and an additional 96 hours in case of emergency situation.

The niche technology facilitates carrying out deep ocean exploration of non-living resources such as polymetallic manganese nodules, gas hydrates, hydro-thermal sulphides and cobalt crusts, the NIOT said.

Matsya 6000, the deep sea vehicle, will be ready for qualification trials by December 2024, according to an NIOT official.

“The manned submersible can take three scientists to ocean depths to explore oceans and to survey the ocean bed and collect the data and samples,” the official said.

By the end of 2022 or 2023, the shallow water (500 metres) phase is expected to happen which would be followed by more deeper initiatives, he added.

“Indigenous efforts are underway at NIOT towards design of the vehicle and some of the subsystems are realized from Indian as well as from global market towards its special usage in high pressure deep sea environment,” the release said.

The NIOT had developed a ‘personnel sphere’ made of mild steel with local industry for an operational capability of 500 metres and tested for its usage as per the International Classification and Certification Agency for man rated operation during this month sea trial using Ocean Research Vessel Sagar Nidhi in Bay of Bengal.

The deep sea vehicle shall be maneuvered at deep sea floor with six degree freedom using battery powered propulsion system for 4 hours at 6000 metre depth, according to the release.

“Basically this vehicle is a platform to carry any devices, sensors etc to deep sea for doing experiments/observations in the presence of a human being.” This programme shall augment India’s capability with infrastructure facility such as high thickness welding facility and deep ocean simulator.

During the course of the programme new skill sets are being added under the capacity building which would pave the way for industry development within the country under ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ in the 75th Year of India’ Independence.

System design, concept of operation, subcomponents functionality and integrity, emergency rescue, failure mode analysis are reviewed and certified as per the rules of International Association of Classification and Certification Society for man-rated usage of manned submersible at a depth of 6000 metres, the release added.

===================

Picture from google search (credit to original owner):

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Article which provides important context:

What is the country’s Deep Ocean Mission all about? What are the metals that can be extracted?​

The story so far: India’s ambitious ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ is all set to be launched this year. Dr. Madhavan Rajeevan, Secretary, Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, announced on July 27 that the ₹8,000-crore ($1 billion) plan to explore deep ocean minerals will start from October. He said, “We finally have the in-principle approval to go ahead with the mission. Now expenditure plans will be drawn up and circulated [to various institutions affiliated to the Ministry] for executing programmes and we hope to launch by October 31.”

What will be mined from the deep ocean?​

One of the main aims of the mission is to explore and extract polymetallic nodules. These are small potato-like rounded accretions composed of minerals such as manganese, nickel, cobalt, copper and iron hydroxide. They lie scattered on the Indian Ocean floor at depths of about 6,000 m and the size can vary from a few millimetres to centimetres. These metals can be extracted and used in electronic devices, smartphones, batteries and even for solar panels.

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ORV Sagar Nidhi - Research & Oceanographic Vessel owned by India's National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT). The A-frame at the stern deploys & retrieves various submersible payloads.

Where will the team mine?​

The International Seabed Authority (ISA), an autonomous international organisation established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), allots the ‘area’ for deep-sea mining. India was the first country to receive the status of a ‘Pioneer Investor ‘ in 1987 and was given an area of about 150,000 sq km in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) for nodule exploration. In 2002, India signed a contract with the ISA and after complete resource analysis of the seabed 50% was surrendered and the country retained an area of 75,000 sq km.

According to a release from the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the estimated polymetallic nodule resource potential in this area is 380 million tonnes (MT), containing 4.7 MT of nickel, 4.29 MT of copper, 0.55 MT of cobalt and 92.59 MT of manganese. Further studies have helped narrow the mining area to 18,000 sq km which will be the ‘First Generation Mine-site’.

TH04Deep-sea-miningcol

Which are the other countries that are in the race to mine the deep sea?​

Apart from the CIOB, polymetallic nodules have been identified from the central Pacific Ocean. It is known as the Clarion-Clipperton Zone.

According to the ISA’s website, it has entered into 15-year contracts for exploration for polymetallic nodules, polymetallic sulphides and cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts in the deep seabed with 29 contractors. Later it was extended for five more years till 2022. China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Russia and also some small islands such as the Cook Islands, Kiribati have joined the race for deep sea mining. Most of the countries have tested their technologies in shallow waters and are yet to start deep-sea extraction.

When will India start mining?​

India’s mining site is at about a depth of 5,500 metres, where there is a high pressure and extremely low temperature. Explains Dr. G.A. Ramadass, head of the Deep Sea Technologies Group, National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai, “We have developed and demonstrated the mining technology with artificial nodules at 500 metres depth. We have also deployed Remotely Operated Vehicle and In-situ Soil Tester in the depth of 6,000 metres and have a thorough understanding of the mining area at the Central Indian Ocean Basin.” He adds, “The mining machine newly developed for 6000 metres depth was able to move about 900 metres and will be deployed soon at 5,500 metres. We hope to test it in October this year. Weather conditions and availability of ships also play a role. More tests are being conducted to understand how to bring the nodules up to the surface. A riser system comprising an umbilical cable or electromechanical cable and a hose is being developed.”

What will be the environmental impact?​

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), these deep remote locations can be home to unique species that have adapted themselves to conditions such as poor oxygen and sunlight, high pressure and extremely low temperatures. Such mining expeditions can make them go extinct even before they are known to science. The deep sea’s biodiversity and ecology remain poorly understood, making it difficult to assess the environmental impact and frame adequate guidelines.

Dr. Ramadass adds that though strict guidelines have been framed, they are only exploration guidelines. A new set of exploitation guidelines are being worked out and discussions are on with the ISA. Environmentalists are also worried about the sediment plumes that will be generated as the suspended particles can rise to the surface harming the filter feeders in the upper ocean layers. Additional concerns have been raised about the noise and light pollution from the mining vehicles and oil spills from the operating vessels.

Is deep sea mining economically viable?​

The latest estimate from the ISA says it will be commercially viable only if about three million tonnes are mined per year. More studies are being carried out to understand how the technology can be scaled up and used efficiently.

 

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Skyroot inks pact with Italy's D-Orbit for pilot space mission

D-Orbit-ION-deployer-879x485.png

D-Orbit's ION (InOrbit NOW) Satellite-Carrier

Space technology startup Skyroot Aerospace has signed an agreement with Italian space logistics company D-Orbit to jointly conduct a pilot mission that will utilize the Indian firm’s Vikram launch vehicle and the latter company’s ION satellite carrier.

The two companies on Tuesday announced that they have signed a technical contract that sets the ball rolling for the pilot mission, but did not give details on how soon the project would result in an actual launch into orbit.

“India is rapidly emerging as a leader in rocket technology,” said Matteo Bartolini, launch manager at D-Orbit. “Skyroot’s Vikram rocket family is characterized by an extraordinary level of launch flexibility that can provide an interesting match with the proven capabilities of our ION Satellite Carrier.”

Skyroot’s Vikram series of launch vehicles is being designed to launch small satellites while cutting down the time and providing flexibility in terms of area of launch by being portable. Different versions of the launch vehicle will have payload capacities ranging from 225-700 kilogrammes to lower earth orbit.

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Vikram-series Launch Vehicles currently in development, designed by Skyroot Aerospace

The Hyderabad-based company has said that its Vikram rockets will be able to be manufactured and assembled in 72 hours, and will be able to launch from a mobile launcher.

D-Orbit has developed a vehicle to carry multiple satellites and transport them to designated orbits and release them in their individual slots. The company says its partnership with Skyroot will give the company access to the Asian space market.

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The ION Satellite Carrier can dispense multiple cubesats into various payloads

“We are happy to partner with D-Orbit in our joint efforts to democratize access to space,” said Pawan Kumar Chandana, co-founder and CEO at Skyroot Aerospace. “D-Orbit is building cutting edge in-space transportation systems that will strengthen our offering to customers widening our last-mile delivery of payloads into precise orbits.”


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Skyroot had previously also signed on to launch Bellatrix Aerospace's OTV platform that performs a somewhere similar role, but using Hall-effect thrusters instead of liquid apogee motors. More on that deal here:


D-Orbit's various other offerings can be browsed on their site (there are plenty!):

 
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