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India’s Response to Musk’s Venture

SpaceX was set up by entrepreneur Elon Musk with the vision of reducing space transportation costs and facilitating the colonization of Mars. Last month, SpaceX heaved two communications satellites aloft.  Back home Dr. Sivan K, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is not perturbed by this development. According to him, ISRO's rockets are cheap, robust and meet the country's needs. The 60-year-old from Tamil Nadu, has facilitated take on SpaceX's Elon Musk through the initiation  of 104 satellites in a single mission in February last year. The project had placed India firmly on the map of commercial satellite launches. Dr. Sivan said the next big plunge to develop ISRO's commercial ventures would be "Baby PSLV" - the smaller, modular rocket for on-demand launches. There is also a huge scope for re-usable rocket technology, another ongoing project, which would further reduce the cost of launch.

The scientist applauded Elon Musk for the pioneering modular rocket design that facilitated to send the Falcon Heavy - the partially re-usable heavy-lift launch vehicle - to orbit. He said that ISRO took the first step in this direction in 2016 by successfully launching what has been called the "swadeshi space shuttle" -- the "Re-useable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator" or the RLV-TD. ISRO will carry out a series of technology demonstration missions towards building a two-stage fully re-usable satellite vehicle.


By: Subrata Dey


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