Technical Facts of ASTROSAT Space Observatory mission by ISRO

ASTROSAT is India’s First Multi-wavelength Space Observatory mission launched on 28, September, 2015 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR), Sriharikota, the spaceport of India.
It’s the first type of Space Observatory launched by ISRO to study the Outer Space. This was carried out by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-30 (PSLV-30) with 6 other foreign satellites of its customers into the orbit 644.6 – 651.5 km orbit inclined at an angle of 6 deg to the equator.
The 320 kg, 45 m tall PSLV-30, weighs 1631 kg including 1513 kg of ASTROSAT space observatory. ASTROSAT was placed in its orbit after 22 minutes of its launch and within subsequent 3 minutes other six satellites were placed. This mission is facilitated by Antrix Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), a government of India Company under the Department of Space (DOS). 

Why Mission launched:

It is launched to observe:

  • High energy processes in binary star systems containing neutron and black holes. 
  • Detailed study of distant stars, white dwarfs
  • Study of objects at Cosmological distances and observing the source of Visible, Ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, and other cosmic sources in the Universe.
  • Studies of periodic and non-periodic studies of X-ray.
  • Sky survey in the hard X-ray and UV bands.

 – ASTROSAT was realized by ISRO with the participation of all major astronomy institutions including Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) of Pune, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) at Mumbai, Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIAP) and Raman Research Institute (RRI) of Bangalore as well as some of the Universities in India and two institutions from Canada and the UK
After its separation from PSLV-C30, the two solar arrays of ASTROSAT were automatically deployed and the Spacecraft Control Centre at the Mission Operations Complex of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bangalore took control of ASTROSAT.

Technical Details of Space Observatory:

On board ASTROSAT are five astronomy payloads for simultaneous multi-band observations:

  • Twin 38-cm Ultraviolet Imaging Telescopes (UVIT) covering Far-UV to optical bands.
  • Three units of Large Area Xenon Proportional Counters (LAXPC) covering medium energy X-rays from 3 to 80 keV with an effective area of 8000 sq.cm. at 10 keV.
  • A Soft X-ray Telescope (SXT) with conical foil mirrors and X-ray CCD detector, covering the energy range 0.3-8 keV. The effective area will be about 120 sq.cm. at 1 keV.
  • A Cadmium-Zinc-Telluride coded-mask imager (CZTI), covering hard X-rays from 10 to 150 keV, with about 6 deg field of view and 480 sq.cm. effective area.
  • A Scanning Sky Monitor (SSM) consisting of three one-dimensional position-sensitive proportional counters with coded masks. The assembly is placed on a rotating platform to scan the available sky once every six hours in order to locate transient X-ray sources.
Courtesy Image: Wikipedia

Other Satellites Launched:

Canada’s NLS-14 is a maritime monitoring nano-satellite using the Automatic Identification System; Indonesia’s LAPAN-A2 is aimed at benefiting Indonesian radio amateur communities for disaster mitigation and carrying out Earth surveillance; All the four identical LEMUR satellites for the United States – non-visual remote sensing satellites aims to focus on global maritime intelligence through vessel tracking.


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