ISRO ‘Celebrating Seven Years of Astrosat’

AstroSat was launched into a low earth orbit of 650 km and a low inclination of 60 on September 28, 2015 from Shriharikota using PSLV C-30 rocket. The five scientific payloads onboard AstroSat are working satisfactorily and providing world class science data serving more than 2000 users from 54 countries.During the inaugural session, Shri Shantanu Bhatawdekar, Scientific Secretary, ISRO during his initial remarks informed the audience about the launch of AstroSat, the scientific payloads onboard AstroSat and international usage of AstroSat data. He also updated about a funding initiative of ISRO to encourage the usage of AstroSat data particularly among University and colleges and how this initiative is paying dividends as seen by the number of publications coming from the funding project.

During his address, Shri S Somanath, Chairman ISRO / Secretary, DOS, while mentioning some of the discoveries from AstroSat exemplified the multi-institute nature of the mission, how different research institutes from India realized multiple payloads onboard AstroSat and also talked about the international collaboration. Shri Somanath informed about ISRO’s upcoming science missions and also posed new challenges to the research community on how to benefit from the AstroSat experience for ISRO’s future manned missions. One such challenge is estimating the radiation environment and how to safeguard the astronauts from the harmful effects of radiation. Chairman, ISRO also said how AstroSat data has led to several new discoveries and other exciting results like solving the puzzle of a red star bright in Ultra-violet, detection of X-ray polarization from the off-pulse region of Crab pulsar, enhanced emission from Butterfly nebula, maximally spinning black hole to rare triple thermonuclear bursts from an X-ray binary. One of the major result from AstroSat is the discovery of Lyman alpha photons from a galaxy 9.3 billion years away.