ISRO Build Reusable Rocket: India has plans to design and manufacture a new reusable rocket for the global market that will significantly cut the cost of launching satellites, a top government official said on Monday.
S Somnath, Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), said, “…we all want the launch to be much cheaper than it is today.”
Addressing the 7th ‘Bengaluru Space Expo 2022’ and later speaking to reporters, he said that it currently takes around USD 10,000 to USD 15,000 to put a kilogram payload into orbit.
Mr. Somnath said, “We have to bring it down to USD 5,000 or USD 1,000 per kg. The only way to do this is to make rockets reusable. Today in India we do not have reusable technology in launch vehicles (rockets). It is,” said Mr. Somnath.
“So, the idea is the next rocket we are going to build after the GSLV Mk III being a reusable rocket,” he said at the inaugural session of the International Conference and Exhibition.
ISRO, Mr Somnath said, is working on various technologies, including the one demonstrated last week with the Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (IAD). “We have to do a retro-propulsion to land it (the rocket back to Earth).”
Combining these technologies, ISRO in partnership with industry, startups and its commercial arm NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) is looking to design and build a new rocket that will be reusable.
“This is the idea and we are working on that idea. That idea cannot be of ISRO alone. It has to be an industry idea. So, we have to work with them in designing a new rocket, not just it designing, but engineering it. To manufacture it and launch it as a commercial product and operate it in a commercial manner,” he said.
“So, this is a big change from what we do today,” he pointed out. “I want to see this (proposal) take shape over the next few months.”
“We want to see a rocket that will be competitive-enough, a rocket that will be cost-conscious, production-friendly that will be built in India but will operate globally for services to the space sector. This should be the next Will happen in a few years so that we can retire all those launch vehicles (in India) in due course.”