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ISRO eyes reusable rocket to carry heavier payloads into the orbit. Read here

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NEW DELHI : The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has asked the manufacturing industry to collaborate with the organisation in order to create a reusable rocket capable of carrying heavier payloads into orbit.

This comes as India plans to establish their own Space Station by the year 2035. 

On Sunday, ISRO successfully conducted an acceptance hot test of the CE-20 engine that will be used to launch the next batch of 36 OneWeb satellites into Low Earth Orbit. The CE-20 engine will power the Launch Vehicle Mark-3 (LVM-3), which earlier launched the first batch.

The reusable rocket, also being called Next-Generation Launch Vehicle (NGLV) is being worked upon. ISRO scientists are creating the design of the rocket and would like the industry to collaborate with it in the development, said ISRO Chairman S Somanath

“The intent is to bring industry along in the development process. All the money need not be invested by us. We want the industry to invest to create this rocket for all of us,” Somanath told news agency PTI in national capital Delhi. 

He said the rocket is planned to carry a 10 tonne payload in the Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) or 20 tonnes to the low earth orbit.

Another ISRO official said the new rocket would be helpful as India plans to have its own space station by 2035 and was also eyeing deep space missions, human space flights, cargo missions and putting multiple communication satellites into orbit at the same time.

The NGLV is envisioned as a simple, robust machine designed for bulk manufacturing that will make space transportation more cost effective.

Somanath said the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), ISRO’s warhorse rocket, was based on the technology developed in the 1980’s and cannot be used to launch rockets in the future.

ISRO plans to have the design of the NGLV ready within a year and offer it to the industry for production, with the first launch tentatively scheduled for 2030.

The NGLV could be a three-stage rocket powered by green fuel combinations such as methane and liquid oxygen or kerosene and liquid oxygen.

According to a presentation made by Somanath at a conference earlier this month, the NGLV could offer launch costs of USD 1900 per kg of payload in the reusable form and USD 3,000 per kg in the expendable format.

India’s space economy was pegged at USD 9.6 billion in 2020 and is expected to touch USD 12.8 billion by 2025, according to the ISpA-E&Y report titled ‘Developing the Space Ecosystem in India: Focusing on Inclusive Growth’.

In dollar terms, the satellite services and applications segment would be the largest with a turnover of USD 4.6 billion by 2025, followed by ground segment at USD 4 billion, satellite manufacturing at USD 3.2 billion and launch services at USD 1 billion.

India’s share in the launch services segment was pegged at USD 600 million in 2020 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13 per cent to reach USD 1 billion by 2025, the report said. 

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