Context:

  • With a new chairman, Dr Kailasavadivoo Sivan, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to make 2018 a productive and memorable one.

Background:

1969:

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation was formed in 1969.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation is the space agency of the Government of India.
  • The establishment of ISROinstitutionalized space activities in India.
  • It is managed by the Department of Space, which reports to the Prime Minister of India.

1975:

  • Aryabhattais India’s first satellite by ISRO and has been named after the famous astronomer.
  • It was the spacecraft to be entirely built in the country making a breakthrough in space missions.

1993:

  • The first rocket initiated by the ISRO was the – (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)) which will enable to launch the satellites into polar orbits.
  • It was basically launched to help the Indian space researchers to launch their Indian remote sensing IRS into Sun- synchronous orbits.

2014

  • Thanks to ISRO, India became the first country to successfully reach Mars in its first attempt.
  • ISRO also became one of the only four space organisations to have reached the red planet, apart from NASA, Soviet Space Programme and the European Space Programme.
  • The goal of the mission was to collect more data on the atmosphere of the planet.

2017:

  • 15thFebruary, 2017: On February 15, India, with the help of six other nations, launched 104 satellites into space.
  • These satellites were launched in a single launch onboard PSLV-C37.
  • 29th July, 2017: With already 17 Indian satellites circling the planet, on July 29 ISRO launched 18th communication satellite, GSAT-17, to join the fleet.
  • The GSAT-17 has been designed for an operational lifespan of about 15 years.

What are the significant missions of Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) that are coming up in 2018?

As a part of the three-year short-term action plan, immediate missions that Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plan to do for 2018 are:

GSAT-6A communication satellite:

  • GSLV-F08 will launch the GSAT-6A communication satellite.

PSLV mission:

  • PSLV mission with navigation satellite IRNSS-1I.

GSAT-29:

  • Launch of second developmental flight D2 of GSLV-MkIII.
  • GSLV-MkIII will launch the high throughput satellite GSAT-29.

GSAT-11:

  • GSAT-11, which will be the heaviest satellite as of now that will be launched from Kourou.

Chandrayaan-2:

  • The Chandrayaan-2 mission will be launched this year on another GSLV.

Semi-cryogenic launch vehicle:

  • For the semi-cryogenic launch vehicle, the engine development is going on.
  • The target is to test fly it sometime in 2019.

Human Space Flight:

  • The Human Space Flight is not an approved programme yet.
  • Because, before it is taken up, a human mission requires many technologies.
  • In the case of any disaster, there should be an emergency plan to rescue the crew from the capsule.

What are the challenges ahead for Indian Space Research Organisation ISRO?

India has a small window to grab a chunk of the space business by using its home grown talent and resources. And the challenges ahead are as follows:

Bottleneck situation:

  • The bottleneck situation for ISRO is that it has two launch pads and only has one vehicle assembly.

Interval between two launches:

  • Earlier the interval between two launches was large; but although it has been brought down, to sustain this, auxiliary capacity like vehicle assembly building is needed, which is a 90-metre building.

Achieving an increase in number of launches:

  • Also, to achieve 18+ launches a year, ISRO need to create more capacity.
  • India aims 60 launches in the next five years which will need assembled and integrated satellites by ISRO and the private sector in a joint venture.

 Cost-effectiveness:

  • Cost-effectiveness is an issue with a large number of private entities coming into launch payloads and for which the competition becoming intense.

India’s efforts to compete with China and Russia:

  • Slow execution of projects and lack of government support is hampering India’s efforts to compete with China and Russia as a cheaper option for launching satellites.

Growth potential of private companies:

  • Small number of launches limits the growth potential of private companies that supply them.

Growth of space industry:

  • Absence of heavy rocket launchers, too few launch facilities and bureaucratic delays hamper growth of India’s space industry.

Which are some of the new areas of focus for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)?

According to Dr Kailasavadivoo Sivan, the new areas of focus for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are as follows:

Reducing in total mission cost:

  • It should aim for reducing the total mission cost.
  • The satellite cost should be less, so also the cost of the launch vehicle.

Reusable launch vehicle:

  • Itis also developing the technologies for a future reusable launch vehicle.

Innovative applications:

  • It should also think of innovative applications.

Applications area:

  • It is also pushing hard in the applications area.
  • Recently it has validated a new mobile app to help fishermen.
  • It tells them where they can find large fish shoals in the sea.

Addition in numbers of satellites:

  • India has 43 satellites in space and to meet the present national requirement, India needs an equal number of satellites in addition.

Increasing the launch frequency:

  • The frequency of launches must definitely increase.
  • For that, ISRO has set 18 launches per year as the target.

A healthier budget:

  • More satellites are required to be put in orbit and they need more launch vehicles.
  • For that, much more money is needed on the launch vehicle side, spacecraft side and on the infrastructure side.

Public private association:

  • This year, the priority would be to allow a public private consortium to build the PSLV rocket, which current chairman A S Kiran Kumar has said would be launched by 2021.
  • ISRO has to hasten the effort to bring in private players into satellite and rocket building, to replicate India’s software success in aerospace.

Conclusion:

  • ISRO has a clear plan up to 2025 for launch vehicles and spacecraft.
  • Beyond that, too, there is an outline as to which way it should go.
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