Communications established with payload on stabilized PSLV upper stage

TAMPA, Fla. — Indian startup Digantara said July 6 that its ROBI space weather monitoring payload was operational aboard a depleted upper stage of India’s polar satellite launcher.

The company said the experimental payload successfully sent data from the PSLV’s Orbital Experimental Platform (POEM), which was launched on June 30 as part of the rocket’s primary mission of deploying three satellites. for Singapore in low Earth orbit.

This is the first time that the fourth stage of the PSLV has been stabilized in LEO with a dedicated navigation guidance and control system following its main mission, according to Indian ISRO space agency.

POEM has solar panels, control thrusters and other equipment to act as a hosted payload bus after launch.

The platform carries six payloads in total, including a satellite deployment system developed by Indian startup Dhruva Space.

Dhruva Space said its Satellite Orbital Deployer has already achieved space qualification for the mission.

Digantara’s ROBI, or Robustly Integrating Proton Fluence Counter, aims to test space weather measurement and analysis capabilities for the startup’s upcoming space situational awareness platform.

Digantara plans to deploy a satellite early next year to demonstrate how light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors – combined with space weather data – would allow it to track space objects with more precision than other systems in the sunshine and eclipse phases.

Shreyas Mirji, head of business and strategy at Digantara, said the startup has established communications with ROBI, “and has started receiving the first batch of datasets and assessments are currently underway.”

Digantara and Dhruva Space recently became the first private companies in India to gain approval from the Indian National Space Promotion and Clearance Center (IN-SPACe), an autonomous government agency, for their space activities.

India announced the establishment of IN-SPACe in June 2020 to promote, license and oversee non-governmental space activities in the country.

Operating under India’s Department of Space, IN-SPACe regulates the country’s private space companies and their use of Indian government-owned facilities.

Mirji described IN-SPACe’s early clearances as “really the backbone of private space activities in India”.

He said India’s space ecosystem is “undergoing massive changes” as the country’s government recognizes the role it must play in building a resilient economy.

“It has gone far beyond promises with consultation of stakeholders to draft India’s first comprehensive Space Activities Bill which will shortly be tabled in parliament,” he said. declared.

The dedicated space legislation aims to bring clarity to private companies, which the government hopes will encourage more investment and activity in the country’s space industry.

The largest satellite on the June 30 PSLV mission was the 365-kilogram DS-EO, a high-resolution Earth observation spacecraft for Singapore.

The mission also carried NeuSAR, Singapore’s first synthetic aperture radar observation satellite, and the SCOOB 1 solar-monitoring cubesat developed by Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

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