50 launches in 3 years, Isro soars high

BENGALURU: The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) plans to escalate its space faring activities with 50 launches over the next three years, including a second outing to the Moon and two test flights of a new rocket-small satellite launch vehicle (SSLV) next year, Chairman Dr K. Sivan announced on Sunday.  With its order book for launch of small satellites brimming because several communications firms and universities across the world are seeking slots for launch by the workhorse PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle), the space agency has decided to design and fly SSLV, a rocket exclusively for such satellites.

“These launch vehicles will cost a tenth of PSLV and compared to 45 days needed to build a launch vehicle, this will need only 72 hours. Also it needs only three to four people as opposed to 300 people for PSLV. We can launch satellites of 500-700 kg, and we hope the industry can soon start making this,” he told the media here on the sidelines of unveiling the bust of Dr Vikram Sarabhai at Isro headquarters.  In addition, Isro plans to knit together a consortium along with Indian industry to roll out more PSLV rockets.

“We hope to achieve the maiden flight of PSLV built by this consortium in the next two years,” added Dr Sivan He also announced ISRO's plans to launch an exclusive television channel in regional languages, and dedicated to popularise science, promote scientific temper among people and conduct training camps for school students. "Within the next three-four months, there will be a television channel launched to reach people in rural parts of India on how the space programme can benefit the common man. Information on India's space missions and their applications are not reaching the people in entirety. Our effort through the channel is to make people aware of the benefits of the space programme.

People in my village Sarakkalvilai (20 km from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu) are not aware of ISRO's activities. So, we want to reach out to as many people as we can," he added. ISRO will organise capacity building programmes for students from class 8 to 10 to inculcate scientific temper among them. The space agency will select students and organise training camps for 25 to 30 days, Dr Sivan said adding during this period the students will be allowed to visit laboratory and make small satellites. Besides, ISRO also plans to set up an incubation centre for start-ups with ideas in the field of space technology.

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