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What the ISRO is planning next

February 17, 2017 09:40 IST

The space agency lines up GSLV-III and Chandrayan-II in 2017-18. T E Narasimhan Reports.

The Indian Space Research Organisation, which launched a record 104 satellites at one go on Wednesday, hopes to continue the momentum.

"We are planning to launch two satellites, one each in March and April," said ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar.

P Kunhikrishnan, director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, said three missions were to be launched in the first half of 2017. Launch preparations for three different types of vehicles -- PSLV, GSLV and GSLV Mark-III, the next generation launch vehicle -- have been progressing.

GSLV Mark-III will be India’s most powerful launch vehicle built yet. It can loft satellites weighing four tonnes to space, double the weight the current GSLV-Mk II can lift.

It will also enable the ISRO to launch communications spacecraft to geostationary orbits of 36,000 km.

Due to the absence of a powerful launcher, the ISRO currently launches satellites above two tonnes on European rockets, for a big fee.

Another official said the ISRO is also developing and testing the Chandrayaan-2 lander propulsion, getting ready for an integrated test this month-end or so.

"We are targeting the first quarter of 2018 for the launch," said Kumar.

Chandrayaan-2 will be India's second mission to the moon, an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1. It consists of an orbiter, lander and rover.

"We are also getting ready for the C25 stages for its penultimate qualification test a few days from now. We have challenging times ahead and are also getting ready for missions of PSLV, GSLV and GSLV Mark-III in one or two months," said the official.

Image for representation only.

T E Narasimhan in Chennai
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