BENGALURU: The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), which has for long been wanting to scale up its operations, aims at launching 22 missions in 2019, while it has set a target of 50 successful missions in the next three years, its chairman Sivan K said. Among the key missions to look for in 2019 will be the Chandrayaan-2, Aditya-L1 (India’s solar mission) and two demonstration flights of the SSLV (small satellite launch vehicle).
After a dull period this year, launch activity will pick up pace from September, first when the space agency will launch two UK satellites- dedicated commercial launches- on the PSLV-c42. In October, the GSLV MK-III D2 will launch the GSAT-29, following which the PSLV-c43 will launch a hyper-spectral imaging satellite with 30 commercial co-passengers.
Then, Isro will use the services of Arianespace to launch the GSAT-11 on November 30, which was recalled earlier this year owing to problems in the power systems, and Ariane will also launch the GSAT-31 as a replacement of the ageing INSAT-4CR, which will have to be decommissioned in January 2019.
“We have a very small window for that, and the replacement has to be in orbit before INSAT-4CR goes out of action so that the people are not affected,” Sivan said, adding that the PSLV-c45 will launch the Risat-2B satellite later this year.
CHANDRAYAAN, ADITYA & SSLV
Isro hopes to start the new year (2019) with the launch of Chandrayaan-2, which has already been delayed owing to multiple changes that were needed. Sivan said that they are looking at a launch window between January 3 and mid-March. “We hope to meet the January 3 date,” he said, while confirming TOI’s August 12 report that the entire configuration of the mission has changed.
The other big scientific project will be the Aditya-L1, which will study the Sun’s surface, in December, while a series of earth observation and communication satellites have also been lined up. Among them are third generation Cartosat and Oceansat, a microwave imaging satellite for all-weather purpose and Risat.
The bigger launches include GSAT-20 in August, and the GSAT-30, which will replace the INSAT-4A and IRNSS-1J, as part of India’s navigation constellation, which will carry an indigenous atomic clock.
Aside of this, the agency also plans to have two demonstration flights of the SSLV in May and October after which it can go into production phase. “These launch vehicles will cost one tenth of a PSLV and compared to about 45 days needed to prepare a launch vehicle for launch, this will need only 72 hours. Also, it needs only three to four people as opposed to 300. But it can only launch payloads with a mass of 500-700 kg and we hope that the industry can soon start making these,” Sivan said.
CONSORTIUM FOR PSLV
Also, in order to increase the launch frequency, Isro is hoping to create a consortium of industries that can start producing PSLV launch vehicles. “We hope to achieve a maiden flight of PSLV built by such a consortium in the next two years,” he added.