What does Wednesday’s PSLV flight mean for ISRO?
The launch of three satellites and a space capsule recovery experiment (SRE) on Wednesday has helped spike doubts about the reliability of Indian rockets. Today's launch would get India more customers from across the world for hoisting 1,000 kg satellites into space. The SRE will be used as a test platform to try out new technologies involved in manufacturing a capsule that will seat the Indian picked to fly into space.
What is next on ISRO’s agenda?
In mid-2007, ISRO will attempt a repeat flight of the GSLV, with a satellite akin to INSAT-4C on board, to prove the consistency of that rocket. 2008 will be the year to watch out for since a PSLV rocket will haul Chandrayaan-I, the orbiter to the moon, into space. The orbiter will cruise in space for about a week before commencing its mission — circle the moon and gather data on the lunar surface and scout for mineral deposits. The data will be utilised by astronomers to study evolution.
What of ISRO’s plans to send a man to space and to the moon?
With the expertise gained from SRE experiments and Chandrayaan-I, scientists will design a module to seat two or three men for a short journey into space. They plan to launch the space mission by 2014-15. This will be followed by a couple of flights ahead of the one to the moon by 2018-2020. Around 2012, ISRO plans to launch an orbiter to the Mars to look for evidence of life on that planet.
Why such grand plans? Why not stick to manufacturing satellites and launching them?
These plans will help ISRO develop new technologies and design large rockets to ferry big satellites into space. Besides, the spin-offs of such advanced technologies will be useful in other areas like medicine and defence.