India Looks to Private Sector as 100th Mission Looms


ISRO officials are planning to commercialize parts of its space program and add a new launchpad as the space agency prepares for its 100th mission next week.

India’s workhorse rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), which has completed 20 consecutively successful launches under the eagle eye of ISRO, is one such technology that the agency is hoping to hive off to private players. Today, about 80% of the vehicle is put together with parts supplied by the private industry. If K Radhakrishnan, the current chairman of ISRO and a manager trained at the Indian Institute of Management at Bangalore has his way, then the entire vehicle itself could well be made and launched by private players.

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Ex-ISRO Officials Praise Chinese Human Launch, Rue Lost Opportunity


By Douglas Messier

Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

While the Chinese celebrate the launch of a three-member crew to the Tiangong-1 space station, two former chairman of India’s space agency ISRO are looking on with both admiration and regret. As China’s program has moved slowly but steadily forward, India’s plans for human space missions have slipped from around 2016 into the early to mid-2020s.

India’s top space scientists praised China’s maiden mission of manned docking of its space lab even as New Delhi’s own human space flight programme seems to have lost momentum.

“It’s a wonderful thing that has happened,” ex-Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, U R Rao told PTI here. “Essentially, they are making sure that they are going ahead systematically with manned mission programme”. …

He said India has not started any manned mission programme at all. “We have to have much larger and much more powerful launch vehicle,” Rao said.

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ISRO Budget: Human Spaceflight Delayed, Mars Mission Set for 2013

By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

As was announced late last year, the Indian space agency isn’t going to send astronauts into orbit on its own anytime soon. However, ISRO will send an orbiter to Mars next year, which would be the nation’s first interplanetary probe and only the second time it has sent a spacecraft beyond Earth orbit. Meanwhile, the Chandrayaan-II mission continues to slip into the future as ISRO gears up for several advanced rocket tests.

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