In Context

    • According to the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), INSPIRESat-1  is set for launch.


    • INSPIRESat-1 is a collaborative effort by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado Boulder in the U.S., the National Central University, Taiwan, and the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, apart from the IIST.
    • INSPIRESat-1 CubeSat, developed under the International Satellite Program in Research and Education (INSPIRE).
      • A constellation of earth and space-weather observation satellites is envisaged under the INSPIRE programme.
    • The INSPIRESat-1 mission was originally planned for 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
    • The small satellite that weighs less than 10 kg will be launched aboard an upcoming Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
    • It is equipped with a Compact Ionosphere Probe for studying the earth’s ionosphere. 
    • It has been fully integrated, tested and will be placed in a low earth orbit
      • A low Earth orbit (LEO) is an orbit around Earth with an altitude above Earth’s surface from 160 km to 2,000 kilometres.

    Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research(INSPIRE) Programme

    • The Government of India approved it in November 2008 at a total cost of Rs 1979.25 crores in the 11th Plan Period.
    • It is one such innovative scheme proposed by the Department of Science & Technology for the attraction of talent to science. 
    • The basic objective of INSPIRE would be to communicate to the youth population of the country the excitement of the creative pursuit of science and attract talent to the study of science at an early stage and build the required critical human resource pool for strengthening and expanding the Science & Technology system and R&D base.
    • The INSPIRE Scheme has included three programs and five components. 
      • Scheme for Early Attraction of Talents for Science (SEATS), Scholarship for Higher Education (SHE) and  Assured Opportunity for Research Careers (AORC). The schematic diagram of the programme is shown below

                                                        Image Courtesy: DST


     Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)

    • It is the third generation launch vehicle of India.
    • It is the first Indian launch vehicle to be equipped with liquid stages.
    • After its first successful launch in October 1994, PSLV emerged as the reliable and versatile workhorse launch vehicle of India with 39 consecutively successful missions by June 2017.
    • The vehicle successfully launched two spacecraft – Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 and Mars Orbiter Spacecraft in 2013 – that later travelled to Moon and Mars respectively.
    • Difference: PSLV was developed to launch low-Earth Orbit satellites into polar and sun-synchronous orbits whereas GSLV was developed to launch the heavier INSAT class of geosynchronous satellites into orbit.

    What are CubeSats?

    • CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites
    • CubeSats are built to standard dimensions (Units or “U”) of 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm. They can be 1U, 2U, 3U, or 6U in size, and typically weigh less than 1.33 kg (3 lbs) per U. 
    • NASA’s CubeSats are deployed from a Poly-Picosatellite Orbital Deployer, or P-POD.
    • NASA’s CubeSat Launch initiative (CSLI) provides opportunities for small satellite payloads to fly on rockets planned for upcoming launches. 
      • These CubeSats are flown as auxiliary payloads on previously planned missions.

    Source: TH