The time is not far when Isro will be able to launch space tourism
Over the last 50 years since its inception, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has come a long way, overcoming technological obstacles and reaching several milestones. From the launch of payload rockets carrying a payload of only 30-70 kg to 150 km altitude from a church rotated in Tumba in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram (now Thiruvananthapuram) in the early 1960s, Isro has been launching payloads from 4,000 kg in the geostationary orbit at an altitude of 36,000 km. , The agency's giant space technology leap was phenomenal, whether it was to develop a cryogenic engine to power its launch payload or to make it India's heaviest Gsat-11 satellite weighing more than five tons.
When Isro was created on August 15, 1969, the country had no space infrastructure, no attempt to launch large missiles. But now the agency has a number of rockets in its arsenal. Its PSLV can not only lift over a hundred satellites in one go, but it can also place satellites in different orbits in a single mission. Similarly, its GSLV rocket is capable of launching bulky satellites into geo-orbit and is also used to launch interplanetary missions such as Chandrayaan-2.
In Isro's golden jubilee year, its chairman, K Sivan, told TOI: "For the past 50 years, Isro's main mission has been to develop space technologies that will benefit the average person. Therefore, we have created a large space infrastructure, space transportation system and various space applications to meet the needs of the people of India and to fulfill the vision of the father of the Indian space program Vikram Sarabhai, who has always insisted on using space technologies for the well-being of society. "
Sivan said: "We are now looking to accomplish a second mission: Develop the technologies we need for the future. The launching of interplanetary missions such as Mars Orbiter and Chandrayaan-1 and -2 missions are in this direction. We are sowing the seeds of future technology so that our next generation will reap the benefits in 50 years. This is because Earth's resources such as water and energy are rapidly depleting. In the future, we may need to depend on other celestial bodies to fulfill our basic needs. Therefore, in order to find a way to reach these planets, we launch interplanetary missions. "
Sivan said after the Chandrayan-2 mission, the human space flight program or Gagayan would be Isro's top priority. "We need to launch the mission by 2022, the deadline set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After Gaganyan is completed by 2022, Yisro will work on setting up his own space station in India," he said.
Isro has also built a series of interplanetary missions such as Aditya (sun), Venus and space science programs. "To carry heavier payloads (over 4 tonnes) for interplanetary missions, Isro is also working to increase the lifting capacity of the GSLV-MkIII and to develop a new heavy duty rocket launcher," Sivan told TOI. He said a series of high-speed satellites will also be launched to provide digital connectivity to remote parts of the country.
The agency is also working on a mini-PSLV or Small Satellite Launch Vehicle, whose maiden demonstration test is due in December this year. This SSLV rocket, which can only be assembled in 3-4 days compared to 30-40 days for a normal size rocket like PSLV, will be a money spinner for the space agency as it is an on-demand vehicle. "Whenever there is an urgent request to launch a satellite weighing up to 500 kg, we can assemble SSLV in no time," Sivan said.
Another key project of Isro is the reusable vehicle (RLV). Sivan said that "after the Chandrayan-2 demonstration in September, an RLV demonstration test is coming. It will be a landing experiment." In the landing experiment, the RLV will be launched into the sky using a small rocket. After being lifted for several kilometers, the RLV will slide back to Earth and land at an airport. If Isro is able to create its own space station in space in a few years, RLV will play a key role in transporting people to and from the space station.
All these big-ticket missions will definitely require a lot of budget. Sivan says: "Money has never been a problem, as we have never run into financial shortages. Whenever we ask for money from the government for a major project, we have received it." The Indian Space Agency is already known worldwide for launching large space programs such as Mars or Chandraian missions on a small budget. In fact, the budget of a Hollywood movie is greater than the total cost of an interplanetary mission in India, such as the Mars Orbiter Mission. Chandrayaan-2 costs Isro Rs 978 crore (approximately $ 140 million), which is less than half the budget of the movie Avengers Endgame, whose budget was $ 356 million. It is also smaller than the budget of another Hollywood movie & # 39; Interstellar & # 39 ;, a science fiction movie made in 2014 with $ 165 million.
With a series of interplanetary missions, Gaganyan projects and space stations emerging, the next five years will indeed be a busy period for the Indian Space Agency. The big ticket space programs also show that Isro has come a long way in the last 50 years and has been going high in technology every year. It is not far from the time when Isro will be able to start space tourism or take the Moon's Indians to rest.