India’s space organization aims to create a confederation of companies to build and market small rockets to launch low-weight satellites at a lesser cost and within shorter durations.
Steered by Antrix Corp, the consortium will include engineering majors like Larsen & Toubro, Godrej Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. Antrix is working on a model to involve industry from the beginning. With working along with these companies in the initial stages, ISRO expects to improve the manufacturing process and bring down the cost of the rocket.
The combination of these companies will help ISRO build a small rocket which will be capable of carrying 500-kilogram satellites into the lower earth orbit.
“Our aim is that one or two rockets will be launched by ISRO, the industry should then make the rockets and launch satellites,” said K Sivan, chairman of ISRO. He said that ISRO has approached these companies and that “they are all interested”.
“The price of a satellite launch on this small rocket is expected to be less than one-fifth of the current launch costs,” Sivan added.
Typically, Isro takes about 45 days to assemble its pillar- the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The smaller rocket, which will be powered by a solid booster, is expected to be ready for launch in three days. It is being designed to place low-weight satellites in the low earth orbit of around 500 kilometres.
The first development flight of the rocket will be by 2019.