Over 32 missions -- satellites and rockets -- have been planned for the year.
T E Narasimhan reports.
2019 will be the busiest yet for the Indian Space Research Organisation, with double the number of launches compared to 2018 -- 32 to this year's 17.
The missions scheduled include a third-generation remote sensing satellite, a third-generation ocean satellite and a couple of communication satellites.
The most complex would be Chandrayaan-2, the country's second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan-1. Another important mission would be the launch of the two-satellite Indian Data Relay Satellite System, of which one will be launched in 2019.
It will maintain continuous communication with India's remote sensing/earth observation satellites and with the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III (GSLV Mk-III) that is planned to carry three Indian astronauts to space in 2022.
In launch vehicles, ISRO expects to fly its first small rocket with a carrying capacity of 500 to 700 kg next year.
Today, ISRO has two operational launchers, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).
The next variant of GSLV is GSLV Mk-III, with indigenous high-thrust cryogenic engines and stage, having the capability of launching the four-tonne class of communication satellites.
2018 also saw some important initiatives, including bringing in private entities to build satellites. The UR Rao Satellite Centre has signed work order contracts with three different vendors, to help in the assembly, integration and testing for satellites.
The companies are Alpha Design Technologies, Bharat Electronics and Tata Advanced Systems. These firms will build 27 satellites, to be launched before 2023. These would comprise seven communication, 12 Earth observation, five navigation and three science satellites.
ISRO launched a remote sensing earth observation satellite in the Cartosat-2 series, a GSAT-6A communication satellite, eight navigation satellite to join the IRNSS Space Segment, GSAT-29 for communication, HysIS for earth observation and from the GSAT-11 Mission in the Ariane-5 launch vehicle from France, for communication.
The latest was the GSAT-7A satellite, launched on December 19.