ISRO to increase satellite launch capabilities
Infrastructure for the same being created at ISAC, B'luru
He was delivering the national science day lecture on ‘Indian Satellites and Success of Mars Orbiter Mission’, at All India Institute of Speech and Hearing.
He said that the objective of increasing the number of satellite launches was to expand the space programme taken up by ISRO. Earlier, ISRO used to launch four to five satellites every year. From the current year, the space agency will launch ten satellites into orbit every year, he said.
“The idea to increase the number of launches is a big challenge. In order to facilitate the same, required infrastructure is being created at ISAC in Bengaluru,” he said.
Since 1975, India has launched 72 satellites on its own, through 45 launch vehicle missions. Due to various factors, two satellites were launched with the help of foreign space agencies, he said. The 73rd satellite of the country, which is the fourth among the seven Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) satellites, is scheduled to be launched on March 9, he said.
Briefing on the launch vehicle capabilities of ISRO, he said that satellites of 41 countries have been launched by the agency till date.
Speaking on the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), Shivakumar said that the complete mission, which was the first inter-planetary mission, was realised in a short span of 15 months. Initial plans for the MOM was drawn in 2011, and the Centre approved the programme in 2012.
Within one year of approval, MOM, which had a total payload of 1,337 kg was launched, he said.
MOM was launched towards Mars on November 5, 2013, and the spacecraft started orbiting Mars on September 24, after a journey of 660 million kilometres, that lasted more than 300 days.
Noting that India was the first country to succeed in an interplanetary mission in its maiden attempt, and fourth overall, he said that success of interplanetary missions has been less, as only 21 of the 51 missions to Mars had succeeded. Failures of such a large number of missions to the red planet was not due to the hostile environment on Mars, but due to issues pertaining to launch propellers of the vehicles, he said. He added that the success of Chandrayaan, ISRO’s mission to the moon, also contributed to the success of MOM.
Shivakumar was an integral part of two projects of ISRO, viz, ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) and the Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) projects.