Isro plans to launch AstroSat-2: What it means for Indian space mission

Isro has so far launched missions, with Chandrayaan-1 (pictured) for moon and Mangalyaan-1 for Mars, besides an observatory in space with Astrosat. Photo: Reuters
To conduct further studies on astronomy and astrophysics, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is planning to launch India’s second AstroSat-2, according to a media report.

Isro had sought proposals from institutions in astronomy for the development of scientific instruments on February 3, reported Times of India.

Through Astrosat, one can conduct studies on astrophysical objects from nearby solar system to distant stars, timing studies of pulsations of hot white dwarfs and active galactic nuclei. This cannot be achieved through space telescopes due to light pollution and disturbances in electromagnetic radiation.

What is an Astrosat?

Astrosat is a one-of-its-kind satellite, which is designed to observe the universe in the visible, ultraviolet, low- and high-energy X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum simultaneously with the help of its five payloads.

A unique feature of Astrosat is that it will provide simultaneous multi-wavelength observation of various astronomical objects from a single satellite. 

The space observatory consists of a total of six instruments such as the ultraviolet imaging telescope, soft X-ray imaging telescope and scanning sky monitor among others.

The information from Astrosat is being used not only by Isro scientists but also by private research firms and laboratories in India.

Journey of India’s first Astrosat

In 2015, India joined the United States, Japan, Russia and Europe by having its own space observatory satellite. 

Weighing about 1,513 kg, Astrosat-1 has been in its orbital space over for two years and was launched with a mission life of five years. PSLV-C30, with seven satellites cumulatively weighing 1,631 kg, carried the Rs 1.78-billion Astrosat on 28 September, 2015.

Until 2015, Indian scientists had to rely on the telescopes operated by Nasa and the European Space Agency to study 'radiation bands' that carry information about neutron stars, newly-born or exploding stars and the spiralling hot gases around black holes.

Astrosat is generally described as India’s version of the Hubble telescope that Nasa had put in space in 1990.