Indian Space Research Organisation under its newly-appointed chairman S Somanath is gearing up to accelerate space activities, which were till now paralysed for several months due to Covid-triggered restrictions.
In the next three months, Isro is targeting to launch five satellite missions involving three rocket launches, which also include the maiden launch of India’s first newly-developed small satellite launch vehicle targeted at scaling up small-sized commercial satellite launches. While giving the timelines of the new launches to space minister Jitendra Singh in Delhi on Tuesday, the Isro chairman mentioned a RISAT-1A satellite launch with PSLV C5-2 rocket scheduled for February, OCEANSAT-3, INS 2B and ANAND satellite launches by PSLV C-53 in March and SSLV-D1 launching a micro SAT in April. This year, Isro also has the distinction of launching Gsat-21, the first fully-funded satellite of New Space India Ltd that will be owned and operated by the public sector undertaking.
This communication satellite will meet direct to home application needs of the country.
Somanath also updated Jitendra Singh about the status of the Gaganyaan programme and said there had been a delay in timeline be- cause of Covid and other constraints “but now things have again fallen back on track and all the systems needed for the first unmanned mission are getting realised”, a statement from the Department of Space said.
Before the final manned mission in 2023, Isro is planning to launch two unmanned missions, the second one will carry a ‘vyommitra (humanoid)’, before the final mission involving two or three astronauts to space for seven days. The minister was also informed that astronauts have successfully undergone generic space flight training in Russia and now a dedicated ad-hoc centre has also been established at Bengaluru for a specific training for the mission.