The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to launch at least 50 medium and heavy satellites into orbit in the next five years. These launches will include the polar satellite launch vehicle which is considered one of the world’s most reliable rockets and the workhorse of the Indian space programme.
“ISRO has earmarked $1.6 billion for PSLV with $870 million for Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV),” said Haridas T. V., Deputy Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, while taking part in the panel discussions at 'EDGE 2020, The Space Conclave' on Friday. GSLV can place satellites weighing over 3500 kg to the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.
The agency also plans to introduce a low-cost satellite launch vehicle, the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), which can put satellites weighing 500 kg into orbit. The ISRO, which earns around $40 million annually through launching small satellites, aims to increase its revenue by launching satellites for foreign customers.
As the small rocket can be assembled in three days, the ISRO hopes to achieve 50-60 launches a year.
Indian government’s space expenditure has been increasing for the past few years due to ambitious missions, including a manned mission in 2022, a third lunar mission and others. However, India still lags behind the major players in the space sector, such as the US, which spent 13 times more than India in 2018.
“China, which has become a key player in the space sector in recent years, also spent about seven times more than India in 2018,” the finance ministry document revealed.
India has been making efforts to match the capability of countries like the US, Russia and China which dominate satellite launching services with 20, 31 and 39 satellites launched respectively in 2018.