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October 30th, 2017

A 30 Satellite Launch Scheduled for December by the ISRO

In a news item posted by the Eastern Eye publication, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said that the agency will launch 30 satellites in a single mission on board their Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) this December.

The mission, whose main payload will be Cartosat-2 series Earth Observation satellite, will be the first PSLV mission after the unsuccessful launch of navigation satellite IRNSS-1H in August. While talking to reporters, ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar said, that the ISRO is planning the next launch in the second half of December; all things are in place. PSLV-C40 will be used for the launch from the spaceport in Sriharikota, about 100 kilometers from Chennai in India. This will be a satellite of the Cartosat-2 series along with other co-passengers.

S. Rakesh, the Chairman and Managing Director of Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) stated that the mission will be a combination of 25 nano satellites, three micro-satellites and one Cartosat satellite, along with ‘maybe’ one university satellite. He then added that most of the co-passengers of Cartosat-2 series satellite would commercial satellites from foreign countries, including Finland and the U.S.

On August 31, India’s mission to launch its backup navigation satellite IRNSS-1H onboard PSLV-C39 ended in a failure after a technical error on the final leg following a perfect launch. ISRO had then said the heat shield did not separate on the final leg of the launch sequence, and, as a result, the IRNSS-1H got stuck in the fourth stage of the rocket. To a question about PSLV-C39 failure, Kumar said when a system, which had worked 60 times, fails because of a particular reason, it should not be a fundamental problem.

Another big launch in ISRO’s calendar is the next lunar mission Chandrayaan-2, on board GSLV-Mk II, scheduled for March 2018. On Chandrayaan-2, Kumar said right now the orbiter was getting integrated at Bengaluru and some more tests were going on with regard to the lander and rover, instruments and systems, stating that by the first quarter of next year, ISRO expects to put the orbiter, lander, rover — all the things together into the lunar orbit. Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the Moon, would be an advanced version of the Chandrayaan-1 that was launched nine years ago. This spacecraft is a composite model consisting of orbiter, lander and rover.

On the involvement of industry and academic institutions, Kumar said, “What we are trying to see is while we build our capability; we also make sure that whatever excess capacity we have, we are in a position to market it and use.”

He said presently India was having 40-plus satellites in operation for EO, remote sensing, communication, navigation and space science. However, the requirement was significantly higher and the agency is looking at a mechanism where they can increase the pace at which the work is being done, noting that if ISRO has to deliver more and bring in more capability in space —  call space infrastructure —  the number of launches needs to increase, more satellites have to be built and they must be used for more applications.

Kumar also said ISRO was now looking at a mechanism where the Indian industry actually gets support from it for competing internationally by leveraging on what they have already acquired. There was a huge market available for the supply of sub-systems, he added.

The ISRO chairman was speaking to reporters at the press meet curtain raiser regarding the “International Seminar on Indian Space Program – Trends and Opportunities for Industry,” scheduled to be held between November 20 and 21 in New Delhi. The two-day event will have sessions on space industry, a public-private partnership for space programs, capacity building and talent management, the role of industry in Indian space program along with B2B and B2G meeting, officials said.