IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


7th August, 2023 Science and Technology

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  • ISRO has transferred the IMS-1 satellite bus technology to Bengaluru-based Alpha Design Technologies, bringing in a new era of increased private industry participation in India's space sector.


  • This transfer was facilitated through an agreement signed by ISRO's commercial arm, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL).
  • The IMS-1 satellite bus is a small satellite platform developed by the UR Rao Satellite Centre.
  • Its design aims to enable low-cost access to space and can serve as a dedicated vehicle for various payloads.
  • The versatility of the IMS-1 bus allows it to support missions related to Earth imaging, ocean and atmospheric studies, microwave remote sensing, and space science.

Key Features of the IMS-1 Satellite Bus

  • Weight: The IMS-1 bus weighs about 100 kilograms, making it suitable for small satellite missions.
  • Payload Capacity: It can carry payloads weighing up to 30 kilograms, making it ideal for deploying smaller scientific instruments and equipment.
  • Power Generation: The satellite is equipped with solar arrays that generate 330 watts of power, supporting its operational requirements in space.
  • Pointing Accuracy: Four reaction wheels and a 1 Newton thruster enable precise pointing accuracy with an accuracy threshold of 0.1 Degrees, allowing it to target specific areas of interest during missions.

Previous Missions

  • The IMS-1 bus has been utilized in several ISRO missions, including IMS-1, Youthsat, and Microsat-2D.
  • These missions have demonstrated the capabilities and reliability of the satellite platform, paving the way for its technology transfer to the private sector.

Objectives of Technology Transfer

  • By transferring the IMS-1 Satellite Bus technology and other space-related technologies to private companies, ISRO and the Department of Space aim to foster industrial growth in the space sector.
  • This move is expected to open up new opportunities for private enterprises to build and deploy space technology solutions.

Benefits of Increased Private Participation

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Private companies can leverage the IMS-1 satellite bus technology to develop cost-effective solutions for space missions, potentially reducing the financial burden on government agencies.
  • Innovation: Increased private participation may bring fresh perspectives and innovative approaches to space missions and research.
  • Capacity Building: The transfer of space technology to private firms will facilitate skill development and expertise within the Indian space industry.

About Satellite bus technology

  • It refers to the core structural and functional framework of a satellite that serves as a platform to host and support various payloads and instruments in space.
  • It is the backbone of a satellite and provides essential services to ensure the satellite's proper functioning during its mission.
  • Satellite buses are designed to be versatile and adaptable, allowing different payloads to be integrated, making them suitable for various types of missions.

Key Components and Functions of Satellite Bus Technology

  • Structure and Mechanics: The satellite bus provides a sturdy and stable structure to house all the satellite's components. It includes the satellite's body, frame, and mechanical systems that ensure proper orientation and stability in space.
  • Power Generation and Management: The bus is equipped with solar panels to generate electrical power from sunlight. Power management systems ensure the proper distribution of electricity to the satellite's subsystems and payloads.
  • Thermal Control: In the extreme temperature variations of space, the satellite bus includes thermal control systems to regulate internal temperatures and protect sensitive electronics and instruments.
  • Communication Systems: Satellite buses are equipped with communication systems that enable data transmission to and from the satellite, allowing ground control centers to communicate with and control the satellite.
  • Propulsion and Attitude Control: Propulsion systems, such as thrusters, allow the satellite to change its orbit or adjust its position and orientation. Attitude control systems ensure the satellite points in the desired direction.
  • Onboard Computers: The satellite bus contains onboard computers that manage and control the satellite's various functions and coordinate its operations.

Types of Satellite Buses

  • Standard Buses: These are off-the-shelf satellite bus platforms that are readily available and widely used for a range of missions. They are typically cost-effective and have a proven track record of reliability.
  • Customized Buses: Some satellite missions require specific or specialized configurations. In such cases, custom-designed satellite buses are used to accommodate the unique requirements of the mission.
  • Modular Buses: Modular satellite buses are designed with standardized components that can be easily interchanged or replaced, allowing for greater flexibility in satellite design and customization.

Importance of Satellite Bus Technology

  • Satellite bus technology is crucial for the successful deployment and operation of satellites in space.
  • It provides a standardized and efficient platform for satellite missions, making satellite development more cost-effective and reliable.
  • By using proven and tested satellite bus platforms, space agencies and private companies can focus on developing and integrating specific payloads and instruments, reducing overall mission development time and costs.
  • Overall, satellite bus technology plays a critical role in advancing space exploration, communication, Earth observation, weather forecasting, scientific research, and various other applications that benefit society and contribute to our understanding of the universe.


The transfer of the IMS-1 Satellite Bus technology marks a significant milestone in India's space exploration journey. It reflects the government's commitment to encouraging private sector involvement in the space industry and fostering domestic innovation and expertise. Through such initiatives, India aims to strengthen its position as a key player in space research and exploration while driving economic growth and technological advancements in the sector.


Q. Discuss the significance of satellite bus technology in space missions and its role in advancing space exploration. How does the use of standardized and customized satellite bus platforms contribute to the cost-effectiveness and reliability of satellite missions? (250 Words)