After successfully launching its 100th satellite into space, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), now plans to launch a communications satellite. ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar, while speaking to media after Friday’s launch said that the GSLV-MkII first stage had been assembled and already completed integration. “They are going through process and it is targeted sometime next month (for launch),” he said. Kumar said that after this, the space agency will be launching MkIII and another PSLV which will carry navigation satellite IRNSS-1I. “We also have a number of launches almost every month one launch and we are going to work towards that”, Kumar, who is retiring later this month, added.
He said that the organisation is currently planning to push the launch envelope so that there are at least three GSLV category and nine of PSLV category (this year). However, Kumar added that it isn’t as easy a task as it may sound. The biggest project that ISRO is currently working on, however, is the Chandrayaan-2 mission.
The body said that it is on schedule with the Chandrayaan-2 mission and is currently going through various tests. This will be India’s second mission to the moon in which the organisation will send a rover to explore the lunar surface. “It is on schedule. We have to find out whether it is in March or not,” Kumar said.
He revealed that the Chandrayan-II satellite is getting ready at the ISRO Satellite Centre and the flight models are going through various levels of tests. The satellite would comprise of an orbiter, lander and six-wheeled rover which would move around the landing site and instruments on it would send back data that would be useful in analysing the lunar soil. However, the Lander housing the rover will separate from the orbiter after reaching the lunar orbit.
Apart from Kumar, the Director of ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu S Somanath also said that the tests related to Chandrayan-II were underway at the centre. “What we are trying to do is to prove the ability to do a soft landing (the rover). Tests are on to demonstrate soft landing in a simulated way,” he said.
To a query on whether there was a possibility of ISRO carrying out manned space mission, Kumar said, “The possibility was always there for taking up such a mission but the government has to decide by giving resources.”