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ISRO Readying Low-cost Launch Vehicles

THIRUVANANATHAPURAM:
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is readying low-cost satellite launch vehicles costing about Rs30-35 crores each which can put into orbit satellites weighing 500 kgs.

The first such launch is expected to take place in the next four months from the country. This capability will give ISRO a big commercial boost as it will be able to cater to micro, mini and medium segments of the market, said Haridas T V, Deputy Director, VSSC taking part in the panel discussions at EDGE 2020, The Space Conclave, here today.

The biggest advantage is that ISRO now can manufacture these vehicles in a turnaround time of just three weeks’ time, he said. ISRO has earmarked $1,600 million for launch vehicles of which $870 million will be for PSLV and the remaining for GSLV, he revealed.

Haridas also said that ISRO planned some 500 PSLV launches in the next five years. The Government Owned Contractor Operated (GOCO) model is picking up very well in the space and defence sectors. “We want to leverage it to the maximum in the coming days,” he added.

Earlier, in his keynote address at the session titled Navigating Space Industry – Through Innovation, Agility and Collaboration, Dr Rabin Giles, Director Innovation, CNES Connect said there is tremendous scope for cooperation between France and India in the development of space technology.

“India and France can work to set up a model for the Moon programme,” he said. Elaborating on the cornerstones for a space deal, Dr Giles said partnerships are the solution. Next come science, which is the DNA and thirdly is the connect needed to the downstream sector.

Dr Giles said space industry is a sector where ‘patience and dream’ play a big part. “Innovation needs trust and failure is an option,” this is the dictum that he follows when he works with start-ups, said Dr Giles, adding that the key factor is trust.

Dr Daniel Baker, Director of America’s LASP Programme, stressed the need for students from Universities to take part in space research programmes. In this context he lauded the new Space Park which will be a launch-pad for exploration. The seeds of success will be in replicating the success of LASP here, he said.

Collaboration, Innovation and Agility are the key to a successful space programme, said Raqib Islam, UK Space agency.
Taking collaboration forward the UK Space Trade Mission had visited India last week to explore areas of cooperation, he said.

PSR Sastry, Director DSP, DRDO said the DRDO is trying to make cost-effective technologies work for them. Later, in a session titled Enablers of Space Industry – Challenges and Insights into Space Regulations and Policies, Dr Ranjan Kaul, Partner, Dua Associates, Abhishek Malhotra, MD, TMT Law Practice and Nitin Pai, Co-Founder, Takshashila Institution concurred on the need to encourage the private sector to play a potent role in the country’s space sector and the need for enacting legislation for the same.

Space is an engine of growth. Liberalisation of space is needed in the national interests; they said adding that the private sector should be allowed in all the sectors of the space industry. “Treat private and government players on a level playing field,” they added.

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