New Delhi: With its low-cost satellite launches, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) pretty much has the space race in the bag.
In a revolutionary development, ISRO is designing a small launch vehicle that can be assembled within just three days – much less than the PSLV which takes up to 30-40 days.
Costing one-tenth the original manufacturing amount of a PSLV, ISRO has started working on the idea of building this small rocket keeping in mind the emerging market of nano satellites.
The manufacturing cost of a launch vehicle is generally in the range of Rs 150 crore to Rs 500 crore across the world.
Dr K Sivan, director of Thiruvananthapuram-based Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC),on the sidelines of an international seminar on ‘Indian Space Programme’ told TOI, “ISRO is busy developing a small launch vehicle which is likely to be ready for launch probably by 2018-end or early-2019. This rocket will have the total payload capacity of 500 to 700 kg and can launch satellites only up to the polar sun-synchronous orbit or near-earth orbit (500-700 km in altitude).”
The weight of these rockets will be three times lesser than the conventional launch vehicle – it will weigh just 100 tonnes.
The money saved could be used to manufacture more such launch vehicles and put more satellites in orbits around the globe. Such vehicles will have the capacity to launch nano satellites, Sivan said.
Till now, satellites of foreign customers are accommodated in launch vehicles only as secondary passengers. With ISRO eyeing to capture the market of nano satellites, the small vehicle can be a boon for foreign satellite customers as the rocket can be readied in just three days on demand.