Reusable rockets, satellite constellation for broadband in ISRO’s 10-year green plan

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Stepping into 2021, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has chalked out its decadal plan which includes development of a heavy lift rocket, reusable satellite launch vehicle, semi-cryogenic engine, and others, said a top official.

In the short term, the space agency has to realise the first developmental flight of the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) operational Geo-Imaging capability, the third moon mission Chandrayaan-3, the first solar mission Aditya-L1, and the first Indian Data Relay Satellite.

“The first unmanned flight under the Gaganyaan Programme is another significant milestone to be achieved this year,” ISRO Chairman K. Sivan, who is also Secretary, Department of Space, ISRO said.

In his New Year message, he said all the centres/units of ISRO have actively contributed to the formulation of the decadal plan.

Sivan said: “In this decade, the VSSC (Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre), the lead centre for space transportation systems, will carry forward its competence in launch vehicle development towards heavy lift capabilities, achieving partial & full reusability and achieving progress in scramjet engine research.”

According to Sivan, the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) will fructify the much-awaited high thrust semi-cryogenic propulsion capability, which is expected to boost the lifting capability of Indian rockets to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) to almost 5.5 ton while also focusing on liquid oxygen (oxidiser)-Methane propulsion, green propulsion as well as electric propulsion.

He also said ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) needs to gear up its test facilities to support the qualification of the new propulsion systems and also expand its integration facilities to realise the new semi-cryogenic and LOX/Methane engines.

“In the next decade, emphasis will be on satellite constellation for broadband communication, all electric satellite platform and high performance satellite platforms in all the application areas,” Sivan said as regards the decadal plans for the U.R. Rao Satellite Centre (URSC).

He said the Space Applications Centre (SAC) will complete its indigenisation efforts for atomic clock and traveling wave tube amplifiers (TWTA).

In this decade, SAC and the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) need to work towards ensuring the collection, processing and on-demand delivery of satellite data services in line with user expectations.

As regards the rocket port under the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) scaling up of the launch infrastructure to support human spaceflight as well as new heavy lift vehicles and perhaps support and facilitate the launching of private space transportation systems in the country, Sivan said.

The Semi-Conductor Laboratory SCL will works towards creating a strong micro-electronics base in the country and enhance capabilities in Very Large Scale Integrated circuit (VLSI) domain.

“A lion’s share of ISRO’s technology development & advanced R&D activities is expected to be carried out for facilitating the Gaganyaan (human space mission) programme and sustaining the human spaceflight activities in the long term,” Sivan added.

On its part, the Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC), in association with all other ISRO centres, is working towards the enhanced capabilities essential for the human spaceflight programme including the human rated launch vehicle, Orbital Module, rendezvous and docking, regenerative life support systems and space habitats, Sivan added.

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