Indian space agency chief AS Kiran Kumar confirmed that India will be launching INSAT-3DR, a weather satellite next month with its heavy rocket, the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV-Mk II). He also said that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is targeting to increase the number of its satellite and rocket launches from the current six-eight per year to 12-18 per year. Also Read - Starlink satellite broadband service faces challenge in India, Elon Musk led company questionedAlso Read - Today's Google doodle is all about India's 'satellite man': Here's all you need to know
Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) director K Sivan said that ISRO will also be launching ScatSat – a weather monitoring and forecasting satellite – with polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV). Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, he said that the Indian satellite will be a co-passenger to an Algerian satellite. Also Read - ISRO joins hands with MapmyIndia to develop a Google Maps rival
“Both the satellites will be put into different orbits. So the fourth stage/engine of the rocket will be switched off after ejecting ScatSat first. Then after a gap of around 30 minutes, the engine will be switched on and put the Algerian satellite into its intended orbit,” Sivan said.
According to him, the year end is expected to see the launch of GSLV-Mk-III with communication satellite GSAT 19 weighing around 3.2 ton – the heaviest satellite to be lifted by an Indian rocket from the Sriharikota rocket port in Andhra Pradesh.
Sivan also said ISRO will soon be testing its scramjet or air breathing engine for future use to power Indian rockets. The scramjet engine used only during the atmospheric phase of the rocket’s flight will help in bringing down the launch cost by reducing the amount of oxidiser to be carried along with the fuel.