Isro plans record 22 launches in 2019

Going full throttle on its operational capabilities, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is all set to script history in 2019 by launching a record number of 22 missions into the space.

Clearing the decks for some of its ambitious missions, the Isro aims to accomplish 50 launches by 2020 coinciding with the culmination of the centenary celebrations of its founder and father of India’s space programmes Dr Vikram Sarabhai.

Announcing the line-up of launches for the year ahead on Sunday in Bengaluru, Isro chairman Dr K Sivan said the organisation will witness a hectic schedule over the next one year.

“The launches will start as early as September 2018 and go on till December 2019. On an average, there will be two launches per month in the coming days,” Dr Sivan said. The much-awaited Chandrayaan-2 and India’s solar mission Aditya-L1 will also be launched in 2019 besides demonstrating the commercially viable baby rocket, Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), in May-June 2019.

With the latest schedule, the Isro hopes to break the jinx that is coming in its way of achieving 24 launches per year. “In September, there is PSLV-c42 carrying two UK satellites — NOVASAT and S1-4 — followed by GSLV MK-III D2 carrying GSAT-29 satellite boosting the Digital India programme of the prime minister. Subsequently, PSLV-c43 carrying spectral imaging satellite along with about 30 commercial satellites will also be launched using the same platform in November,” Sivan revealed.

Later in the same month, GSAT-7A will be launched followed by GSLV-F11 carrying AMISAT and GSAT-31 in December. “The GSAT-31 would only be a replacement satellite for INSAT 4 CR which may have to be phased out by January after its full service,” Sivan said. The Isro is considering making use of the Arianespace facilities to launch the GSAT-31 satellites as replacement satellites, according to officials.

The Isro is considering making use of the Arianespace facilities to launch the GSAT-31 satellites as replacement satellites, according to officials. By scheduling to launch PSLV P-45 carrying RA-SAT 2B in 2019, the Isro hopes to enhance the communication network enabling usage of high bandwidth data connectivity. While it is abuzz in tech world that the Isro has lost links with GSAT 6A, Sivan exuded confidence of establishing contact with the satellite.

“I agree there have been reports. But the Isro has not given up hopes and one cannot call it as abandoned at this juncture. We are working our best to establish contact with the satellite.

Perhaps, we will work towards it for another one year,” he clarified.

The Aditya-L1, planned to study the sun, will be launched in December 2018 besides various navigational and communication satellites, including the third generation cartosat and oceansat.

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Isro plans record 22 launches in 2019

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