New Delhi: According to a top government official, India has plans to create a brand-new, reusable rocket for the international market that would significantly lower the cost of launching satellites. According to S Somanath, secretary of the Department of Space and head of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), “all of us want launches to be much cheaper than what we do today.”
Bengaluru Space Expo 2022 underway in Bengaluru
Speaking at the eighth “Bengaluru Space Expo 2022” and afterwards at a press conference, he noted that a one-kg payload now requires between USD 10,000 and USD 15,000 to be launched into orbit.
“We have to bring it down to USD 5,000 or even USD 1,000 per kg. Only way to do that is to make the rocket reusable. Today in India we don’t have reusable technology yet in launch vehicles (rockets),” Somanath said.
‘going to build a reusable rocket’: S Somnath
He also said, “So, the idea is the next rocket that we are going to build after GSLV Mk III should be a reusable rocket.”
According to Somanath, ISRO has been working on a number of technologies, including the one that was showcased last week with the Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (IAD).
ISRO working in collaboration with NSIL
By combining these technologies, ISRO hopes to create a new, reusable rocket in collaboration with business, startups, and its commercial subsidiary New Space India Limited (NSIL).
“This is the idea and we are working on that idea. That idea cannot be ISRO’s alone. It has to be an industry’s idea. So, we will have to work with them in designing a new rocket, not only designing it, engineering it, manufacturing it and launching it as a commercial product and operating it in a commercial manner,” he said.
“So, it’s a big shift from what we do today,” he pointed out. “I would like to see this (proposal) taking shape in the next few months.”
“We would like to see such a rocket, a rocket which will be competitive-enough, a rocket that will be cost-conscious, production-friendly which will be built in India but operated globally for the services of the space sector. This should happen in the next few years so that we can retire all those operating launch vehicles (in India) at appropriate time,” he said.