Isro's next mission to Venus scheduled for December 2024
11 May 2022
The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will sending its next mission to Venus in December 2024, with an orbital manoeuvre planned for the year after, when Earth and Venus would be in close proximity with one another.
The window for the launch is fairly slim and if the 2024 plan fails, the next available window will be seven years after, in 2031.
Isro, which is working on its Chandrayaan-3 mission to Moon's south pole, to be launched in August 2022, is also working on the Gaganyaan mission of taking the first Indian to space in a made-in-India spacecraft.
Isro’s upcoming Venus mission will look into what lies in the depths of the hottest planet of our solar system.
Isro chairman S Somnath revealed this while addressing a day-long meeting on Venusian science, where he highlighted that the Venus mission has been conceived with a project report formed as well as funds being allocated for it too.
“Building and putting a mission on Venus is possible for India in a very short space of time as the capability today exists with India,” a PTI report quoted the Isro chief as saying.
The mission has been scheduled for December 2024 with an orbital manoeuvre planned for the year after that, when Earth and Venus would be in close proximity from one another, thus reaching the planet with the minimum use of propellant.
Somnath has also warned against repeating the experiments that have already been conducted on Venus in previous missions. Instead, he recommends focusing on unique high-impact outcomes, similar to what were achieved by Chandrayaan-1 as well as the Mars Orbiter (Mangalyaan) mission.
Isro has already planned a few experiments for this mission, which include an investigation of the surface processes and shallow subsurface stratigraphy.
This will include active volcanic hotspots and lava flows, analysing the structure composition and dynamics of the atmosphere as well as investigating solar wind interaction with the Venusian Ionosphere.
While Isro has a history of conducting space missions at incredibly low costs, Somnath declined to speculate on the expected cost.
“The cost will depend on the extend of instrumentation. If you put a lot of payload instruments, the cost will naturally go up,” said Somanath.
While international space agencies like NASA spends huge amounts on space missions, the Isro opts for budget missions. Its Chandrayan-1 mission used a low budget spaceship, built at a cost of only Rs386 crore. The Chandrayaan-2 mission cost Rs603 crore while its launch was made at Rs367 crore.
Speaking to media on the sidelines of a national conference on Aerospace Quality and Reliability here, the ISRO chief said the agency is in the process of approaching the Union government seeking approval for the mission.
The ISRO has been making efforts to ensure that it would be a unique mission. “We have to be careful with expensive missions of this nature, he said.
“It’s not mere fancy for work that we want to do a Venus mission. We do it for the unique identity that this mission will create amongst all the Venus missions that are likely to happen in future. That’s the goal,” said Somanath, adding the mission would generate a lot of data than can be utilised by scientists. Though the schedule has not been announced yet, the ISRO is ready with the preparatory stages. “The technology definition, the work package, schedule, procurement — all these are ready. But then it has to go to the government, which will analyse it and has to finally approve the same,” he said. He said Chandrayan 3 is now going through testing stages including navigation, instrumentation and ground simulations. However no schedule has been fixed.