Indo-French space mission’s re-entry sets example on space debris control

The controlled re-entry exercise bore testimony to India’s continued efforts towards ensuring the long-term sustainability of outer space activities.

Published: 09th March 2023 08:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th March 2023 08:26 AM   |  A+A-

Image for representational purpose only. (Photo | AP)

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: The decommissioned Indo-French collaborative space mission satellite Megha-Tropiques-1 for tropical weather and climate studies, successfully completed its controlled re-entry and impact in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday evening to set an example of leaving behind minimum space debris after the completion of a mission.

The minimal remains of the satellite splashed in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, minutes after the final de-boost burn using the four 11-Newton on-board satellite thrusters was carried out at 6.21 pm IST. The final de-boost procedure was preceded by another at 4.32 pm, and both the de-boost procedures were carried out for 20 minutes each to bring the satellite’s closest distance to earth to about 80 Km.

From the latest telemetry received at Bengaluru-based ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) it was confirmed that the satellite had re-entered Earth’s atmosphere to disintegrate and splash in the Pacific Ocean within the expected latitude and longitude boundaries. The entire sequence of events was carried out and monitored from the Mission Operations Complex in ISTRAC. The ISRO System for Safe and Sustainable Space Operations Management (IS4OM) spearheaded the re-entry activities.

The controlled re-entry exercise bore testimony to India’s continued efforts towards ensuring the long-term sustainability of outer space activities. The satellite was launched on October 12, 2011 as a collaborative effort between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the French space agency CNES. Since August 2022, the satellite’s perigee (the closest distance to earth during the orbit) was progressively lowered through a series of 20 manoeuvres spending about 120 kg of fuel, ISRO said.

Multiple manoeuvres, including the final de-boost strategy, were designed after taking into consideration several constraints, including visibility of the re-entry trace over ground stations, ground impact within the targeted zone, and allowable operating conditions of subsystems, especially the maximum deliverable thrust and the maximum firing duration constraint on thrusters.


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