Category Archives: ISRO

Vikram FOUND!

Well, it seems that the Vikram lander DID land more-or-less intact! Good news to be sure. It’s a bit tilted from what we have heard. More details should be coming in the days ahead and hopefully communications can be initiated.

Until then, congratulations to the ISRO and mission team!

There will be a launch later today. The launch will be the JAXA HTV-8 cargo-spaceship to the International Space Station. I plan to schedule a feed, although I should be right here; The idea is to see what is going on with scheduling.

Landing Sites

Just a couple short videos today both are landing sites.

The first is the site of India’s Chandrayaan 2 Vikram lander. Communications with the lander was lost moments before landing. We do not know if the craft actually landed successfully or not. There is a pretty good chance it did and the ISRO is attempting to make contact. The contact attempts will last a reasonable amount of time.

The area looks quite interesting so let’s wish them good luck. The video from Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute was make with NASA’s Moon Trek, very nice bit of work too, it took a bit of time to load – your load time may vary.

The second video is a 3D rendering of the four candidate landing sites on Asteroid Bennu for the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft:

India’s Moon Landing

I was lucky enough to be able to watch this “live” yesterday. It didn’t take long to see that things went wrong. Lot’s of sadness there, and that is understandable.

Communications was lost when the lander was 2.1 km above the surface. It is unclear if in fact the lander actually crashed or not. In the end the lander is unusable either way, however if the lander did land successfully that would be better than a crash as far as the mission team is concerned.

Eventually the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will fly over the site and could possibly get a look with the LROC camera. We can hope.

India Launches Two British Satellites

Coverage from India of the ISRO launch of two British Satellites, the NovaSAR-1 and SSTL S1-4 satellites into a 583 km Sun Synchronous Orbit from the First Launch Pad (FLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota

I think India has shown it’s ability to provide commercial launch capabilities — excellent work.

By the way, speaking of commercial / private space services, one of the world’s leaders Space X is about to make a major announcement.

Lunar Ice

Here’s the best evidence yet for ice on the Moon thanks to the India’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. Now we need to know more about volume.

NASA: In the darkest and coldest parts of its polar regions, a team of scientists has directly observed definitive evidence of water ice on the Moon’s surface. These ice deposits are patchily distributed and could possibly be ancient. At the southern pole, most of the ice is concentrated at lunar craters, while the northern pole’s ice is more widely, but sparsely spread.

A team of scientists, led by Shuai Li of the University of Hawaii and Brown University and including Richard Elphic from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, used data from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument to identify three specific signatures that definitively prove there is water ice at the surface of the Moon.

M3, aboard the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, launched in 2008 by the Indian Space Research Organization, was uniquely equipped to confirm the presence of solid ice on the Moon. It collected data that not only picked up the reflective properties we’d expect from ice, but was able to directly measure the distinctive way its molecules absorb infrared light, so it can differentiate between liquid water or vapor and solid ice.

Most of the newfound water ice lies in the shadows of craters near the poles, where the warmest temperatures never reach above -250 degrees Fahrenheit (edit: -157 degrees Celsius). Because of the very small tilt of the Moon’s rotation axis, sunlight never reaches these regions.

Previous observations indirectly found possible signs of surface ice at the lunar south pole, but these could have been explained by other phenomena, such as unusually reflective lunar soil.

With enough ice sitting at the surface – within the top few millimeters – water would possibly be accessible as a resource for future expeditions to explore and even stay on the Moon, and potentially easier to access than the water detected beneath the Moon’s surface.

Learning more about this ice, how it got there, and how it interacts with the larger lunar environment will be a key mission focus for NASA and commercial partners, as we endeavor to return to and explore our closest neighbor, the Moon.

Image: NASA

India Satellite Launch

Even when the rocket lifts off as expected the mission can still end in failure. In this case India (ISRO) launched a navigation satellite. The rocket got off the ground but the fairing around the satellite did not separate.

This is the first failure since 1997, so a streak of 40 successful launches is broken. Pretty good track record.

Hat tip to Space videos!

TayTay Crater


A look at TayTay crater and the surrounding area on Mars from the Mars Color Camera on India’s Mars Orbiter Mission. If you look quick the coloration might make TayTay look like a deep crater, a close look shows a more “typical” crater-like structure.

The image was taken on 13 August from an altitude of 3419 km / 2124 miles.

Image: ISRO

India at Mars


ESA and NASA are both at Mars. Russia launched an ambitious mission to return a sample from the Martian moon Phobos, but a problem with the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft after launch ended the attempt and they sadly have not tried again.

You may or may not know India also has a spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet. The Indian Space Research Organisation – ISRO – launched the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft (MOM) aboard a PSLV C-25 rocket.

The MOM mission reached Mars and is exploring and observing Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and the Martian atmosphere. The mission is also looking for methane in the atmosphere. Methane can be a marker of the existence of life in the right conditions.

MOM is also returning images from the Mars Color Camera (MCC), one of my favorites is Tyrrhenus Mons is shown here from an altitude of 3192 km / 1983 miles.

MOM has been quiet because of the conjunction (as was the Curiosity rover) and has started sending data back.

Image Credit: ISRO