BENGALURU: After a lacklustre eight months in terms of launches for ISRO, it will launch seven satellites in the next four months. Of the seven launches, two will be procured from French firm Arianespace. Apart from it, ISRO has set an ambitious schedule of 24 launches at the rate of two every month in the coming year, including its second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2.
Briefing the media persons during Vikram Sarabhai’s birth anniversary celebrations, ISRO chairman K Sivan said they have “identified 50 satellites to be launched in the next three years by ISRO. Earlier, ISRO was talking of 12 launches per year. Now, we have set a target of two launches per month,” he said.
After having completed two successful launches this year, ISRO will launch PSLV C-42 in September, which will put two satellites in orbit. “Subsequently, two launches will be completed in the remaining months,” he said.
“GSAT-29 and PSLV C-43 will be launched in October, GSAT-11 and GSAT-11A in November and GSAT-31 and PSLV C-44 in December,” he added. GSAT-11 will be launched on November 30 and GSAT -31 by the end of December by Arianespace.
First among the launches in 2019 is Chandrayaan-2, which has missed two deadlines in 2018. PSLV C-45 will be launched in January. “We have a tight schedule next year as we are targeting 22 launches between February and December,” Sivan said.
Reusable launch vehicles’ test
Costing just one-tenth of a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, Small Satellite Launch Vehicle with capabilities to launch 500 kg to lower orbit will be demonstrated by ISRO in May or June next year. The on-demand launcher only needs 72 hours to be prepared and can be integrated and launched by a group. The design of the vehicle is complete and testing will be done in 2019. ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix Corporation will provide the vehicle to industry. ISRO has also decided to test reusable launch vehicles in 2019. The launch vehicle will be lifted to a height of around two kilometres by a helicopter and then released towards the ground.
To launch TV channel
To popularise science, ISRO will launch a TV channel next year. The TV channel will be aimed at generating a sense of scientific enquiry among children and will be broadcast in regional languages of the country. Apart from it, ISRO is also planning to publish an exclusive magazine regarding developments at the Space Agency. And to ensure innovative capacity building, a programme will be held for high school students to learn about satellite technology.
Six incubation centres across country
“The space agency will also perform its maiden flight of PSLV produced by industry leaders in 2019-20,” Sivan said. Six incubation centres will be set up around the country to provide investment for best ideas on science and technology emerging from different parts of the country. “Spaceport at Sriharikota will also be open for visitors soon,” he added.