Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

India's launch site as seen by Japan's Daichi orbiter, now lost

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

25-04-2011 12:22 CDT

Topics: Earth observing missions, Earth

I wrote the following blog entry about an image from Japan's Daichi Earth-observing orbiter last week as one to keep in my back pocket for a day when I was too busy to write, not anticipating that there'd soon be a more pressing reason to write about Daichi. On April 21, after just over five years of orbital operations, Daichi unexpectedly fell silent, and is probably lost forever. The proximate cause was a loss of power, but it's not yet clear why Daichi suddenly lost power. A story from Spaceflight Now points out that electrical system failures doomed two previous Japanese missions. Daichi's images have been invaluable for Japan's earthquake and tsunami response, so this is a very untimely mishap.

On to my original post: NASA, USSR/Russia, ESA, and JAXA are the only agencies that have gotten spacecraft beyond the Moon. But there's another nation that has been launching rockets since 1971, and has developed three (going on four) generations of workhorse launch vehicles. They've focused on Earth observation and commercial applications, so those of us who are interested in planetary exploration haven't paid much attention to them, but India is really quite a big player in near-Earth space. A couple of years ago they even launched 10 satellites on one rocket; I don't know if this record has yet been broken (please comment with a link if it has). This photo tickled my fancy because it was taken by a Japanese spacecraft of India's main launch facilities.

Launch pads at Sriharikota, India


Launch pads at Sriharikota, India
Japan's Daichi Earth observation satellite took the data for this photo of India's two launch pads on Sriharikota island in May 2009 and September 2010. (More recent color information was overlaid on an older, higher-resolution monochrome image.) Learn more here.
See other posts from April 2011


Or read more blog entries about: Earth observing missions, Earth


Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

Planetary Defense

An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.


Featured Images

SpaceX CRS-8 landed booster
SES-10 static test fire
More Images

Featured Video

Class 9: Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join The Planetary Society

Let’s explore the cosmos together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!