ISRO's Vision 2047

ISRO's Vision 2047

In the news

In a resolute pursuit of its Vision 2047, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has unveiled two transformative projects, marking a paradigm shift in lunar exploration and advancing space station development.

Chandrayaan-4 Mission


  • A collaborative venture between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
  • Poised to embark on a groundbreaking lunar exploration journey. 
  • Targeting the unexplored lunar south pole, this mission seeks to unravel the mysteries surrounding the presence of water on the Moon, employing cutting-edge technology and collaborative efforts.
  • The Chandrayaan-4 Mission symbolizes a collaborative leap into lunar exploration, bringing together the expertise of ISRO and JAXA to unlock the secrets of the Moon's polar regions.
  • The agency aims to launch this mission within the next four years, showcasing not only ambition but a pragmatic approach to realizing complex space missions.

Mission Details

    • Mission Type: Chandrayaan-4 is designed to deploy an unmanned lunar lander and rover to conduct in-depth investigations.
  • Lander and Rover
    • Developed by JAXA.
    • Lander: Manufactured by ISRO.
  • Collaborative Effort: The mission is a joint endeavor, with JAXA supplying the rover and H3 launch vehicle, and ISRO contributing the lander.
  • Mission Duration: The mission's operational phase is expected to span six months, allowing for extensive data collection.
  • Landing Site: The mission will target the lunar south pole, an area rich in unexplored terrain.
  • Payload Mass: Chandrayaan-4 will carry a payload of 350 kilograms, housing instruments for scientific exploration.
  • Launch Site: Tanegashima, Japan
  • Rocket: H3 Launch Vehicle, currently under construction.

Background and Timeline

  • LUPEX Collaboration: The Lunar Polar Exploration Mission (LUPEX), also known as Chandrayaan-4, was initiated through an implementation arrangement between ISRO and JAXA in December 2017.
  • Exploration Focus: The mission is a response to the imperative need for exploring the lunar poles to ascertain the presence and utility of water.
  • Chandrayaan-3 Prelude: Following the Chandrayaan-2 lander's unsuccessful attempt in September 2019, ISRO began researching Chandrayaan-3, demonstrating the necessary landing capabilities for LUPEX.

Objectives of Chandrayaan-4 Mission

  • Quantifying Lunar Water: Determine the actual quantity of water in targeted lunar areas, providing essential data for future lunar missions.
  • Quality Analysis: Understand the distribution, circumstances, and shape of lunar water resources, crucial for potential utilization in support, propulsion, or shielding.

Technological Advancements

  • Continuous Power Supply: The spacecraft will employ thin-film solar cells and ultra-high-density energy storage to ensure uninterrupted power, even during lunar nights.
  • Rover Mobility: Technological innovations will enhance the rover's mobility and survivability in the lunar environment, essential for successful exploration.

Significance and Future Implications

  • Scientific Baseline: Chandrayaan-4 aims to establish a critical scientific baseline for surface investigations on low-gravity celestial bodies, influencing future lunar and interplanetary exploration.
  • Economic Impact: Data on water availability will reshape the sustainability and economics of lunar exploration, potentially impacting future missions to Mars and beyond.



  • The Space Docking Experiment (SPADEX), a cutting-edge twin spacecraft mission spearheaded by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • A trailblazing endeavor aimed at advancing technologies crucial for orbital rendezvous, docking, and formation flying. 
  • Envisaged as a key player in human spaceflight, satellite servicing, and proximity operations, SPADEX holds significant promise for the future of space exploration.

Mission Components

  • Dual Satellite Configuration: SPADEX comprises two Identical Mass Satellites (IMS class), weighing 200 kg each. The duo includes a Chaser satellite and a Target satellite, both slated for co-passenger launch.
  • Launch Platform: The mission is scheduled for launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre aboard a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).


  •  SPADEX aims to achieve autonomous rendezvous and docking, a pivotal capability for future space endeavors.
  • Demonstration of controlling one spacecraft using the Attitude Control System of the other in docked configuration.
  • Exploration of formation flying techniques, a critical aspect for coordinated operations in space.
  • Investigation into remote robotic arm operations, opening avenues for versatile applications in space.

Mission Status and Timeline

  • Approved by the Government of India, SPADEX received an initial funding of ₹10 crore in 2017 for its pioneering mission.
  • By July 2022, SPADEX secured ₹124.47 crore in funding, emphasizing the government's commitment to advancing space technology.
  • The mission is targeting a launch in the third quarter of 2024, marking a significant step forward in India's space capabilities.

Technological Significance

  • Initiated with preliminary studies in 2016, SPADEX evolved into a fully sanctioned mission with the government's backing.
  • ISRO actively sought proposals in 2019 to study remote robotic arm operations, underlining the mission's diverse technological applications.
  • SPADEX's exploration of autonomous systems, formation flying, and robotic arm operations showcases India's commitment to innovation in space exploration.

Future Implications

  • SPADEX's success could pave the way for advancements in human spaceflight capabilities, fostering more ambitious exploration missions.
  • The mission's focus on rendezvous and docking technologies has implications for in-space satellite servicing, enhancing the longevity and functionality of orbiting satellites.
  • SPADEX's outcomes are poised to contribute to a spectrum of space operations, from inter-satellite communication to more complex future endeavors.

Docking in Space Exploration

What is docking?

Docking in the realm of space exploration is a meticulously orchestrated process, symbolizing the convergence of advanced technology and precision engineering. It involves the alignment and connection of two spacecraft in a predetermined orbit, marking a critical juncture in various space missions.

Objectives of Docking

  • Orbital Rendezvous: Before docking can occur, the two spacecraft must perform orbital maneuvers to bring them into close proximity. This intricate dance in space, known as orbital rendezvous, requires precise calculations to align their trajectories.
  • Connection for Transfer: Docking serves as the pivotal moment for the physical connection between two spacecraft. This connection enables the transfer of various elements, such as crew members, cargo, or fuel, depending on the mission's goals.
  • Formation Flying: In certain cases, docking contributes to the establishment of a formation where two or more spacecraft fly in a coordinated manner. This formation allows for collaborative scientific observations or complex maneuvers.

Key Components of Docking

  • Autonomous Rendezvous: Modern docking procedures often involve autonomous rendezvous, where spacecraft utilize onboard systems and sensors to navigate and align themselves with precision. This autonomy is crucial for ensuring safe and efficient docking without continuous human intervention.
  • Attitude Control System (ACS): The Attitude Control System of one spacecraft is employed to control the orientation and position of both spacecraft while in the docked configuration. This system ensures that the combined structure maintains the desired attitude and stability.
  • Remote Robotic Operations: In missions involving robotic spacecraft, docking may include remote robotic arm operations. This capability allows for intricate maneuvers, such as capturing satellites or conducting repairs.

The Docking Process

  • Launch and Orbital Insertion: Both spacecraft are separately launched into space and achieve their designated orbits.
  • Orbital Rendezvous: Calculations are made to synchronize the orbits, bringing the spacecraft into proximity.
  • Alignment and Approach: Precise adjustments are made to align the docking ports of each spacecraft, and one spacecraft approaches the other.
  • Capture and Docking: Using docking mechanisms, one spacecraft captures the other and establishes a secure connection. This can involve latches, hooks, or other sophisticated systems.
  • Post-Docking Operations: After successful docking, additional operations may occur, such as the transfer of crew or cargo, joint scientific activities, or adjustments in the combined structure's orientation.

Significance of Docking

  • International Space Station (ISS): Docking is a routine activity for spacecraft visiting the ISS, allowing crewed and uncrewed missions to deliver supplies, conduct experiments, and rotate personnel.
  • Deep Space Exploration: Docking is crucial for missions venturing beyond Earth's orbit, enabling spacecraft to refuel, transfer resources, and collaborate on long-duration missions.
  • Technological Advancements: Mastering docking technology showcases advancements in robotics, autonomous systems, and precise navigation, paving the way for future space exploration endeavors.

Bharatiya Antariksha Station


The Bharatiya Antariksha Station, colloquially known as the Indian Space Station, stands as India's ambitious endeavor in space exploration. 

Planned and operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

This proposed space station signifies a significant leap in India's capabilities, aiming to establish a sustained human presence in orbit.

Key Details

  • Crew: Proposed to accommodate a crew of three.
  • Launch Vehicle: Envisaged launch through the Next Generation Launch Vehicle (NGLV) Heavy/Super Heavy lift.
  • Launch Pad: Anticipated launch from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, possibly from the third or second launch pad.

Mission Status

  • Status: Currently in the planning phase.
  • Planned Launch: Tentatively scheduled for late 2035.

Station Specifications

  • Weight: The space station is anticipated to weigh 20 tonnes.
  • Orbit: Envisaged to maintain an orbit approximately 400 kilometers above Earth.
  • Stay Duration: Astronauts could potentially stay aboard for 15–20 days.


  • Original Plan: Initially slated for launch in 2030.
  • Revised Launch: Postponed to 2035 due to delays associated with the Gaganyaan crewed spaceflight mission and challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Historical Progression

In 2019, ISRO Chief revealed the initial features of the proposed space station, projecting a weight of up to 20 tons.

Gaganyaan Milestone

As of 2022, the Gaganyaan program, aimed at achieving human spaceflight capabilities, has progressed into the testing phase, laying the groundwork for subsequent modules, including the space station.

Long-term Vision

  • ISRO Chairman in 2023, outlined a comprehensive vision, highlighting the Gaganyaan program as a precursor to the space station. 
  • The timeline spans the next 20 to 25 years, with aspirations for extended human spaceflight durations and potential space exercises.

International Collaboration

  • During the NASA Administrator visit in November 2023, expressions of support were conveyed, indicating NASA's readiness to collaborate on a commercial space station by 2040. 
  • The collaboration could leverage the strengths of both nations under the Artemis accords.

Future Goals 

  • ISRO's goals for the upcoming decade include the Gaganyaan project, the Bharatiya Antariksha Station, and a manned Moon landing by 2040.
  • NASA's openness to collaborating on a commercial space station aligns with India's vision, fostering the potential for joint innovation and advancements in human presence in space.

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