NEW DELHI: Keeping in mind the rising demand for reliable launchers in the global market,
has started working on a future rocket that will be “cost-effective and industry-friendly”. Isro and its commercial wing
recently conducted the first commercial launch of LVM-3 rocket that put into orbit 36 OneWeb satellites as part of its broadband communication constellation project.
Speaking at the India Space Congress here, Isro chairman
revealed on Wednesday that "a team in Isro has started working on defining the design of a rocket. We want to build a cost-effective and reliable rocket in partnership with the industry that has expertise in this domain. Once the design is ready, we will seek inputs from the industry. Isro will continue to be the designer and mentor of the new rocket to ensure its reliability and industry will be the manufacturer and operator. We hope the rocket design will be ready in a year or so”.
The Isro chief also said that the space agency wants to test-launch the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV or mini-PSLV) soon. “After two successful test-launches, we will transfer the
rocket technology to the industry. We have also recently handed over the production of
to an industry consortium and soon they will launch five PSLV rockets with Isro’s support. Later, they will handle the production on their own,” he said.
Somanath said Isro’s production capabilities are currently constrained when it comes to the number of GSLV launches in a year. “We want to increase the number of launches in collaboration with the industry. Just two launches are not enough. We want six launches in a year and eventually take it to 12 launches,” he said. Isro also wants to build a large number of smaller satellites to fulfil market requirements, he said.
On India’s navigation system NaVIC, the Isro chairman said there is a need to strengthen the system in the coming days as NaVIC in mobiles is still not widespread. “We need to keep geostationary satellites as its base but also bring in neo-satellites to expand its possibilities and better solution delivery. We are already working on it. We also need to ponder if the NaVIC system can be expanded from a regional system (India-specific) to a global system,”
NaVIC uses seven satellites to provide real-time positioning and timing services in India and an area extending up to 1,500 km from the country's borders. However, several satellites of the navigation constellation have outlived their life and Isro now plans to replace them with new and improved ones.
Referring to the unlocking of the space sector, the Isro chief said, “There are plenty of opportunities in the space sector. We want young minds to come up with new ideas and initiate start-ups and also request bigger players in the industry to support these young start-ups.”