ISRO’s upcoming experiments for 2023 include a dedicated sun and moon mission
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will focus on science experiments in 2023 with dedicated missions to the Sun – Aditya – and the Moon – Chandrayaan-3 – even as the nascent start-up sector is set to soar in the space applications segment. The coming year will also see a series of experiments on India’s first human spaceflight – Project Gaganyaan – with the first uncrewed mission scheduled for the last quarter of 2023 aimed at validating the performance of the human launch vehicle, the system orbital module propulsion and recovery operations.
ISRO further plans to conduct the first Runway Landing Experiment (RLV-LEX) of the reusable launch vehicle early next year from Chitradurga Aeronautical Test Range, Karnataka, said the Union Minister of State in Prime Minister Jitendra Singh’s Cabinet in Parliament this month.
Indian start-ups that marked their arrival with the sub-orbital flight of Skyroot Aerospace’s Vikram-S rocket, the first by a private sector company and the launch of Pixxel’s Shakuntala hyperspectral satellites, on the Falcon-9 rocket from SpaceX in April and Anand aboard the ISRO PSLV in November.
Skyroot Aerospace, which launched India’s first privately developed rocket in November, plans to put a customer satellite into orbit next year, while Agnikul Cosmos, a start-up incubated on the IIT-Madras campus, also scheduled the test flight of its highly customizable Agnibaan rocket.
“We are developing six commercial hyperspectral imaging satellites that will be ready for launch next year,” Pixxel co-founder and CEO Awais Ahmed told PTI.
Ahmed said many other rocket companies around the world will see their first orbital launches materialize, leading to a rocket-themed game of thrones as they compete for the same set of customers sending satellites into the world. ‘space.
The start-ups are eyeing the country’s huge space applications market, which was previously ISRO’s sole domain, carving out a niche in earth imaging, developing rockets to launch small satellites, designing cheaper fuels for satellites and even planning to take tourists on space travel.
“The potential for innovative space applications is immense, particularly if established aerospace companies form partnerships with companies that have not traditionally ventured into orbit, such as pharmaceutical or agricultural companies,” said Chaitanya Dora Surapureddy, Director finance from DhruvaSpace, to PTI.
DhruvaSpace had launched two Thybolt 1 and 2 satellites aboard ISRO’s PSLV C-54 mission which demonstrated the ability to conduct amateur satellite communication that will aid amateur radio operations.
Surapureddy said DhurvaSpace has already signed its first commercial contract worth Rs 20 crore to build satellites.
“The number of space startups in India has already surpassed 100 and these startups have raised over $245.35 million (approximately Rs. 2,000 crore),” Lt Gen AK Bhatt (Retired), Managing Director, Indian Space Association (ISpA) says PTI.
Agnikul also inaugurated its first launch pad and mission control center at ISRO’s Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota.
In 2022, the industry witnessed milestones with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) licensing the space conglomerate formed by Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to a Rs. 860 crore contract for the commercial development of the next five vehicles of launch of polar satellites (PSLV).
OneWeb has also signed ISRO’s Launcher Services to launch 36 satellites into low Earth orbit from Sriharikota. A follow-up launch of 36 more satellites is planned for next year.
It is learned that the OneWeb contract for ISRO is the result of an aggressive Indian bid after the Ukrainian conflict knocked Russian space launch capabilities off the market.
Chaitanya Giri, space consultant at Research and Information System for Developing Countries compares aggression in India’s space sector to that displayed by Sourav Ganguly’s cricket team.
“Our earlier approach was like that of the cricket team led by Mohammad Azharuddin – very gentle and courteous. Ukrainian conflict. The Chinese market too. . Now it’s Advantage India,” Giri told PTI.
He said Indian start-ups should also compete for international contracts and not look to ISRO for business.
“ISRO is not an entity that will support business for them. Indian space start-ups, MSMEs and large corporations will have to enter into business deals with each other. These B-2-B deals need to grow,” Giri said.
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