India to cut cost of satellite launch by half

The country is also aiming a two-to-three fold increase in the number of spacecraft launches from this year, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) K Radhakrishnan said.

GSLV-Mk III that Indian Space Research Organisation is developing now would bring down the satellite launch cost at least by half, at present, the launch cost is pegged at around USD 20,000 per kilogram, he said.

GSLV-Mk III, which would have the capability to launch satellites of four tonne class, nearly twice the mass that ISRO can currently carry to space, is expected to be operational in next two-three years.

Delivering the inaugural lecture of IIScAA (Indian Institute of Science Alumni Association) here last evening, he said India currently has 211 communication transponders, including 195 operational.

“We need to go up to 500 (transponders) by 2014,” Radhakrishan, also Secretary in the Department of Space and Space Commission Chairman, said.
Radhakrishnan said ISRO has so far been launching two to three satellites per year, but from this year the Bangalore headquartered space agency plans to launch six to eight satellites.

“We are augmenting capacity like two-three fold increase in terms of missions (per year),” he said.

He said ISRO is also developing a heavy cryogenic engine and stage, almost three-times what it would use in GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) that it proposed to launch in the middle of this month.
As part of efforts to lower cost of access to space, ISRO is developing semi-cryogenic engine, replacing liquid hydrogen with purified kerosene, bringing down the launch cost price “drastically”.

Human space flight
In 2013, ahead of India’s human space flight planned for 2015-16, ISRO plans to put an unmanned crew module on board a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, Radhakrishnan said.
He also said ISRO is working on a mission to Mars, adding that advanced space-faring nations like US and Russia are eyeing human habitation in Mars from 2030 onwards.
“For them, moon is not an end by itself, but means to reach Mars and have human habitat there. They are devising new transportation systems to reach Moon and Mars,” he said.

“There are various strategies for reaching Mars. It’s a 250 day journey (for Mars). We are working on it. The years 2013, 2016 and 2018 offers good opportunity for ISRO to launch Mars mission,” he added.
Agencies

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