New Delhi: Giving a boost to the Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO, the central government has approved the over INR 10,000-crore plan to give an impetus to the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III programmes. The move will help ISRO further its launches of the light and heavy satellites.
The cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also gave its approval for funding 30 PSLV operational flights under the programme. The PSLV programme is expected to meet the launch requirements of satellites for Earth Observation, navigation and space sciences and will also ensure the continuity of production by the Indian industry.
Funds amounting to INR 6,131 crore includes the cost of 30 PSLV vehicles, essential facility augmentation, programme management and launch campaign.
Over the last few decades, ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV has become its most-trusted and most-consistent workhorse rocket. The PSLV has been ISRO’s backbone, and has made India self-reliant in launching Earth Observation satellites, disaster management satellites, and navigation satellites, most of which are considered light-weight satellites.
For launching heavy satellites, India is helped by France, which has rockets capable of carrying much heavier satellites. France has helped India launch heavy satellites from Kourou in French Guinea in South America.
The PSLV Continuation Programme (Phase 6) will meet the demand for launch of satellites at a frequency of up to eight launches per year, with maximum participation from the Indian industry. All operational flights would be completed during the period 2019-2024, the government said in a statement.
The PSLV continuation programme was initially sanctioned in 2008, and four phases have been completed and the fifth phase is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2019-20. The approval for the sixth phase will cater to the launch of satellite missions from the third quarter of 2019-20 to first quarter of 2023-24.
With the recent successful launch of PSLV-C41 on April 12, PSLV has completed three developmental and 43 operational flights and the last 41 flights have been successful.
The cabinet also approved funding for the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III Continuation Programme (Phase-1), consisting of 10 GSLV (Mk-III) flights, at an estimated cost of Rs. 4,338 crore.
The GSLV Mk-III Continuation Programme (Phase-1) is the first phase of operational flights that will enable the launch of four-tonne class of communication satellites.
The operationalisation of GSLV Mk-III will make India self-reliant in launching four-tonne class of communication satellites, sustain and strengthen the space infrastructure and reduce the dependence on procured launches from foreign countries.
The cabinet was also apprised of a memorandum of understanding signed between India and Oman in February in Muscat for peaceful use of the outer space.