Cryogenic upper stage of LVM3 makes a reentry
- November 17, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Cryogenic upper stage of LVM3 makes a reentry
Subject :Science and Tech
Section: SPACE TECHNOLOGY
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has said that the cryogenic upper stage of the LVM3 M4 launch vehicle which launched India’s Chandrayaan 3 moon mission has made an uncontrolled reentry into the earth’s atmosphere on November 15.
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- This rocket body (NORAD id 57321) was part of the vehicle that successfully injected the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft.
- The probable impact point was predicted over the North Pacific Ocean. The final ground track did not pass over India.
- The re-entry of the rocket body took place within 124 days of its launch.
- The post-mission orbital lifetime of the LVM3 M4 Cryogenic upper Stage is, thus, fully compliant with the “25-year rule” for LEO (Low Earth Orbit) objects as recommended by the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC).
What is LVM3?
- LVM3 (erstwhile GSLV) is an expendable space launch vehicle designed, developed, and operated by the ISRO to launch satellites and other space objects into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbits.
- It is 49.13 m tall and tallest among all other vehicles of ISRO.
- It is a three-stage vehicle with a lift-off mass of 420 tonnes.
- ISRO first launched LVM3 on April 18, 2001 and has made 13 launches since then.
Stages in LVM3
- The first stage comprises S139 solid booster with 138-tonne propellant and four liquid strap-on motors, with 40-tonne propellant.
- The second stage is a liquid engine carrying 40-tonne of liquid propellant.
- The third stage is the indigenously built Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) carrying 15-tonne of cryogenic propellants.
About Space Debris?
- Space debris refers to man-made objects in Earth’s orbit that no longer serve a useful purpose.
- This includes defunct satellites, spent rocket stages, and fragments of debris from collisions or other events.
Threats from Space Debris:
- Threat to Marine Life: Even when falling into the oceans, which is more likely since 70% of the earth’s surface is ocean, large objects can be a threat to marine life, and a source of pollution.
- Threat for Operational Satellites: The floating space debris is a potential hazard for operational satellites and colliding with them can leave the satellites dysfunctional.
- This overpopulation of space with objects and debris is referred to as Kessler Syndrome.
- Reduction of Orbital Slots: The accumulation of space debris in specific orbital regions can limit the availability of desirable orbital slots for future missions.
- Space Situational Awareness: The increasing amount of space debris makes it more challenging for satellite operators and space agencies to accurately track and predict the orbits of objects in space.
What are the Initiatives to Deal with Space Debris?
- In 2022, ISRO set up the System for Safe and Sustainable Operations Management (IS 4 OM) to continually monitor objects posing collision threats, predict the evolution of space debris, and mitigate the risk posed by space debris.
- ISRO also carried out 21 collision avoidance manoeuvres of Indian operational space assets in 2022 to avoid collisions with other space objects.
- ISRO has also set up a Centre for Space Debris Research to monitor and mitigate the threat of space debris.
- ‘Project NETRA’ is also an early warning system in space to detect debris and other hazards to Indian satellites.
- The Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC), an international governmental forum, was established in 1993 to coordinate efforts between spacefaring nations to address the issue of space debris.
- The United Nations has established the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) to develop guidelines for the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, including the mitigation of space debris.
- The European Space Agency (ESA) has launched the Clean Space initiative, aimed at reducing the amount of space debris and promoting sustainable space activities.
What are the UN’s Five Treaties to Deal with Space Activities?
- The Outer Space Treaty 1967: Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.
- Rescue Agreement 1968: Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space.
- Liability Convention 1972: It deals mainly with damage caused by space objects to other space assets, but it also applies to damage caused by falling objects on earth.
- The Convention makes the launching country “absolutely liable” to pay compensation for any damage caused by its space object on the earth or to a flight in air. The country where the junk falls can stake a claim for compensation if it has been damaged by the falling object.
- The Registration Convention 1976: Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space.
- The Moon Agreement 1979: Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.
- India is a signatory to all five of these treaties but has ratified only four. India did not ratify the Moon agreement.