A few updates on the growing Indian space program, which is looking at a higher launch rate, deeper domestic risk taking, and additional international partnerships. The Deccan Herald reports:
“We are planning to launch 10 satellites per year, beginning fiscal 2010-11. We have a series of satellites and launch vehicles at various stages of preparation,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K. Radhakrishnan told reporters. Though this fiscal (2009-10), it could launch only three — Oceansat-2, Risat-2 (radar imaging satellite) in association with Israeli Aerospace Industries, and Anusat, a micro-satellite. Oceansat-2 also carried six nano-satellites of foreign countries as additional payloads.
The launch of two satellites — GSAT-4 and Cartosat-2B — got delayed due to unavoidable reasons, one of them being further flight duration tests of 800 seconds (13.3 minutes) conducted for the indigenous cryogenic engine to be used for the first time in the heavy rocket GSLV-D3 (geo-synchronous satellite launch vehicle). Hitherto, the space agency used Russian cryogenic engines in heavy rockets for launching above two-tonne class spacecraft.
The space agency is set to keep the window open April 15-19 for launching the 2.2-tonne GSAT-4 onboard GSLV-D3 from its Satish Dhawan space centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 80 km north-east of Chennai. The space centre is scheduled to move the 440-tonne rocket to the second launch pad at the spaceport April 7-8 with the technology demonstrator satellite (GSAT-4).
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The joint work with Israel and other countries highlights ISRO’s growing international profile. The space agency is exploring options to cooperate with U.S. aerospace giant Boeing:
Boeing has evinced interest in collaborating with Indian Space Research Organisation in the area of communication satellites, and the two entities are exploring joint opportunities, a senior ISRO official said.
But the future possible cooperation with Boeing is unlikely in the field of joint-building of communication satellites as the Indian Space agency already has a tieup in this segment with EADS Astrium, Managing Director of Antrix Corporation, ISROâ€™s commercial arm, K. R. Sridhara Murthi indicated.
â€œThey (Boeing) said they are interested in having collaboration with us in the field of communication satellites. But we (ISRO) already have an alliance with Europeans (EADS Astrium),â€ he said.
Meanwhile, ISRO wants domestic companies to share in more risks:
Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation K Radhakrishnan today advocated the need for Indian industry to become a risk-sharing partner for production of launch vehicles, satellites and ground equipment.
Delivering the convocation address at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB), he said space-based applications should become part of the value chain of the user community, which should internalise them.
Radhakrishnan said, “Advanced research should be undertaken in tandem with academia on cutting-edge technologies, targeting to make India a technology leader in niche areas”.
The ISRO chairman went on to say that India has accomplished an enormous amount with a shoe-string budget.