January 25, 2024
The Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), (an autonomous
institution under the Department of Space), is an institute of excellence for
education and research in Space Technology, Space Science and Space Application.
IIST offers specialized courses in Avionics & Aerospace Engineering and Applied
Sciences starting from undergraduate to doctoral and postdoctoral programmes.
IIST enjoys close links with ISRO Centres and Units for the use of facilities
and research materials.
In the recent PSLV C-58 XPoSat mission launched on the new year day, IIST played
a pivotal role in extending telemetry and telecommand support to the space
start-up Dhruva Space. The POEM orbiting platform of PSLV C58 has 9 payloads
including LEAP-TD from Hyderbased based space start-up Dhruva Space.
Dhruva Space, Hyderabad, a pioneer among space startups in India working in the
area of small satellite systems development, has developed a payload called
LEAP-TD for technology demonstration of key systems including telemetry
telecommand modules in addition to many other subsystems.
Small-satellite and payloads need tracking for telemetry and telecommand by a
reliable Ground Station typically in VHF, UHF and S-band. For this purpose IIST
has established a ground station which is fully developed and supported by
student/staff of IIST and guided by talented professors and experts from ISRO
centers. In this regard, four LEO missions, InspireSat1 satellite and POEM
payloads PILOT, ARIS-1, ARIS-2 have been developed and launched from IIST.
Multiple futuristic satellites and payloads for science exploration and
technology demonstration are being developed by students. In this way IIST is
creating industry ready students with knowledge of cutting-edge technologies in
the space sector.
Success of any satellite mission lies with the communication from ground for
telemetry and telecommand. In this IIST played a pivotal role through
Small-spacecraft Systems and PAyload CEntre (SSPACE), Ground Station tracking
systems including antenna and RF systems for Telemetry and Telecommand
operations round the clock. IIST has provided ground support to satellites
including InspireSat1, InspireSat2, InspireSat4 and POEM payload on PSLV C53,
and PSLV C58 mission.
The LEAP-TD payload in the POEM platform is in a ~350 km low earth orbit with an
orbital period of around 94 mins. Out of five high elevation orbits per day of
elevation greater than 30 degrees the orbital platform is visible over IIST for
around 10 mins. During this time the ground station has to reliably track the
satellite for receiving the telemetry and transmitting the telecommand.
A team of 8 members from Dhruva Space are in IIST to augment/adapt and operate
the IIST Ground station for supporting the LEAP-TD payload launched in PSLV C58
on January 1, 2024. The teams from Dhruva Space and IIST have worked round the
clock to configure the ground systems for adapting to the LEAP-TD telemetry and
IIST and Dhruva Space teams are operating the ground station which received the
first beacon and telemetry from LEAP-TD on January 2nd when the payload was
switched on for the first time. Since then the payload is being tracked by the
ground station periodically and beacon/telemetry signals are being received and
telecommand is being sent from the IIST ground station.
With this IIST has entered into the domain of services for reliable ground
station tracking systems and small satellites providing opportunities for
universities and space startups to exploit these facilities on a mutually
agreeable basis. In today's world of rapidly advancing space technologies and
aligning with the country’s goal IIST has started collaborating with
Universities and Industries in building small satellites and payloads using
innovative technologies for miniaturizing systems, improving performance,
reducing cost and rapid deployment of space assets in space.