Isro plans to involve Indian industries to increase satellite launch capacity

Isro is taking steps to nurturing the industries in the country to support the Indian space program, through transfer of technology and hand holding.


India has in orbit 39 operational satellites. There are 17 satellites for Earth observation, 13 for communication, 7 navigational satellites in the IRNSS constellation, and 2 space science satellites. 6 satellites made by students are not included in the list. The satellites together meet the demands of the government and private sector for managing natural resources, planning infrastructure projects, support for disaster management and forecasting weather. The satellites are also used to provide essential public services such as navigation and communication.

There will be a need to launch many more satellites as continuity missions to those already in orbit, to meet an increase in demand. The current capacity for satellite launches is a constraint, in terms of manufacture of the satellites and the launch vehicles. Isro is looking to the private sector and Indian industries to step up their participation in the production of integrated systems and sub-systems, including assembly and testing as per vendor design.

Isro plans to involve Indian industries to increase satellite launch capacity

The Scatsat-1 enclosed in half of the heat shield just before launch. Image: ISRO.

Isro is taking steps to nurturing the industries in the country to support the Indian space program, through transfer of technology and hand holding. There are focused efforts to step up the manufacturing of hardware necessary for the space program. The industry is being roped in to create engines, stages of rockets, propellant tanks, spacecraft, solar panels, thermal control systems and electronics packages required for satellites and launch vehicles.

Isro is currently in the process of developing a semicryogenic engine. This will require indigenous development of 35 materials and 22 coating processes. Indigenous bearings will have to be qualified for turbo pumps. A turbo pump feeds propellant from a fuel tank into a combustion chamber of a launch vehicle.  There is a requirement for low pressure turbo pump and one high pressure turbo pump. Indian industries will help fabricate the hardware for three engine subsystems. It will be necessary to validate the design of the low pressure turbo trump with cold flow trials.

The Satellites being loaded into the rocket. Image: ISRO.

Satellites being loaded into a PSLV. Image: ISRO.

To deliver ten-tonne and heavier communication satellites, the launch vehicle will need a booster stage with clustered semicryogenic engines. After the successful operation of a semiryogenic engine, Isro is expected to initiate the development of a booster stage with clustered semicryogenic engines. Isro is also in the process of testing the cryogenic upper stage of the powerful GSLV Mark III launch vehicle.

The Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota has sufficient facilities for launching satellites. The launch complex has two operational launch pads, a control centre for filling propellant into fuel tanks, a mission control centre and a launch control centre for conducting and coordinating the launch operations during the take off, launch vehicle flight, and injections of satellites into orbit. Isro needs industry participation to build the satellites and the launch vehicles, but has sufficient capacity for conducting spaceflights.

The Arrangement of the Satellites in a PSLV. Image: Isro.

The Arrangement of the Satellites in the PSLV.-C34 mission Image: Isro.

Isro is taking steps to increase launch capacity per rocket launch, an effort to bring down costs, particularly with the launch of 104 satellites at one go in the PSLV-C37 mission tentatively scheduled for February 15. Four communication satellites, seven earth observation satellites, and one science satellite are expected to be launch over the course of the next two years. To communication satellites are to be launched by the Ariane 5 rocket This does not include satellites of other countries launched by India, spacecraft by private Indian companies such as Team Indus, or student satellites.

Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space provided the information in a written letter that was a response to a question raised at the Rajya Sabha.

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This story is a part of a series on the world record launch of 104 satellites on a single mission by Isro. The stories in the series are: 

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