The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will reportedly test a small aeroplane-shaped vehicle for space missions. It will be a part of ISRO’s plans to develop a reusable space launch vehicle. K. Sivan, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre told IANS, “We will test a small aeroplane-shaped vehicle — reusable launch vehicle technology demonstrator — weighing around 1.7 tonnes soon. The vehicle will travel up to 70 km and will return.” The current cost of placing an object weighing 1kg in orbit is about Rs. 3 lakh. ISRO’s scientists are hoping to bring the cost down to about Rs. 30,000.
In addition, Sivan said that ISRO is also planning to launch its heaviest rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III). The rocket is powered by an indigenously-developed cryogenic engine. According to Sivan, the rocket will have a carrying capacity between 3.2 to 3.4 tonnes, and will carry the GSAT 19 communication satellite. Yesterday, ISRO launched the sixth navigational satellite (IRNSS-1F) from the PSLV-C32 rocket. ISRO also has a number of other launches lined up for this year. According to R. Kunhikrishnan, Director of Satish Dhawan Space Centre, India’s seventh navigational satellite (IRNSS-1G) will be launched next month. In May, it will launch India’s cartography satellite, Cartosat, along with a couple of small satellites. The INSAT-3DR communication satellite will be launched in August.