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ISRO needs 4 years to catch up with satellite demand: Dr. Sivan

YB WEB DESK. Dated: 2/5/2018 8:38:19 PM

Our aim is to meet the immediate requirement with a target of 18 launches per year ; The Chandrayaan-2 mission will also be launched this year
It has been a meteoric journey from a small farming village, Sarakal Vilai, in Kanniyakumari for K. Sivan, who has taken charge as the Secretary, Department of Space, and Chairman of the Space Commission and the Indian Space Research Organisation. From early education in a Tamil medium school, through a distinguished education and career in aerospace engineering, Dr Sivan has played a significant role in ISRO's success with its two satellite launch vehicles — the PSLV and the GSLV — especially in taming the elusive GSLV, which he called `the naughty boy' of Indian space. Just days after taking on new responsibilities, Dr. Sivan shares his plans for ISRO’s stepped up launch schedule and steps towards manned space flight.
You have just taken charge as Secretary, Department of Space, and Chairman, ISRO and the Space Commission. In the country’s space programme which area do you think needs immediate attention?
We now have 43 satellites in space — for communication, earth observation and navigation. To meet the present national requirement, we need an equal number of satellites in addition. The frequency of launches must definitely increase. With the present launch capability, it will take us four years to make the required satellites and launch them. By then we would need to replace a few [older] satellites. It is like trying to catch up with a moving bus! This gap can be met only by increasing the launch frequency. Our aim is to meet the immediate requirement and for that, we have set 18 launches per year as the target.
For over a decade now, ISRO has been facing a serious shortage of satellite transponders because of an unforeseen demand from various users and leasing some capacity on foreign satellites. How will you tackle the gap?
Yes, we are really short of around 100 transponders. But we are going to manage that with the new satellites that we will launch. We hope to bridge the gap very soon. One major satellite that we plan to launch in a couple of months is GSAT-11. It is around six tonnes [6,000 kg]. Once it is launched and starts working, most of our problems should be solved. It is getting ready and a launch date is not fixed.


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