GSAT 11 Could Be Last Indian Satellite To Be Launched By A Foreign Rocket

GSAT-11 Could Be Last Indian Satellite To
Be Launched By A Foreign Rocket If things pan out as intended, the 5.7-tonne
GSAT-11 will be most probably the last heavy Indian satellite to be launched by a foreign
space agency, according to K. Sivan, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation
(ISRO). The GSAT-11 communication satellite will be
launched by Arianespace’s Ariane rocket soon.“We are working on a dual concept:
Increasing the carrying capacity of our heaviest rocket — the 640-tonne Geosynchronous Satellite
Launch Vehicle-Mk 3 to six tonnes — while producing high throughput and lower weight
communication satellites,” said Sivan. He said nearly 60 per cent of the satellite
weight consists of onboard chemical fuel and by opting for electric power for manoeuvring
in space the mass of the satellite will be reduced. The Indian space agency had tried electric
propulsion in its GSAT 9 satellite. At present, the GSLV Mk 3 rocket has a carrying
capacity of four tonnes. The Indian space agency is working on increasing
GSLV Mk 3’s carrying capacity to six tonnes. “Now most of the satellites will be contained
to four-six tonnes,” Sivan said. According to Sivan, the capacity enhancement
is not restricted to GSLV Mk 3 alone but also to other rockets as it would bring down the
overall launch cost. But that doesn’t mean ISRO would freeze
development of higher payload rockets. “We have the capability to design and build
over six-tonne payload rockets. We will start designing for bigger rockets,”
Sivan remarked. “Our major objectives are to increase the
production of rockets so as to increase the number of satellite launches; enhance our
rocket’s capability; look at reduction of rocket production cost; develop and realise
the small rocket with a carrying capacity of 500 kg and also realise reusable launch
vehicle or rocket,” Sivan remarked. According to him, to increase the production
of rockets, the space agency is looking at transferring the technology for making Polar
Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket to industries. “We are working out the methodologies like
joint venture for that purpose,” Sivan said. That apart, ISRO is also open for transferring
the technologies developed by it to the private sector for commercialisation and wider use. “For instance, we will be transferring the
technology for making lithium ion battery that could be used to power automobiles,”
Sivan added. Sivan said ISRO is also focusing on developing
a reusable launch vehicle that involves a lot of new technologies and the Scramjet engine
which in turn would reduce costs. According to him, the first half of 2018 will
be busy with the launch of Chandrayaan 2 (moon mission), GSAT 6A and a navigation satellite
as the replacement for the first of the seven navigation satellites. On January 12, ISRO launched its remote sensing
satellite Cartosat. Queried about his management style Sivan said:
“I delegate work and expect deliverables as promised. Space system is unforgiving. If there is a problem, it will fail.”

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