BENGALURU: Isro chairman K Sivan, while pointing out the various challenges encountered due to Covid-19, said that virtual launch control centre (LCC) and satellite control centre (SCC) may become the new normal, while the agency has a packed new year that will also see more reforms.
“In the future, when we look back at 2020, we’ll be reminded of trials and tribulations owing to the pandemic. Notwithstanding this, a lot of work progressed in virtual mode in design and development. Major technical issues of Gaganyaan and Chandrayaan-3 were addressed, concept of virtual LCC, SCC got evolved and implemented. In fact, this mode of work appears to be more efficient and can be the new normal,” Sivan said.
Reflecting on the past decade, he said the last 10 years were a decade of many firsts in almost all the verticals of Isro: The operationalization of GSLV with indigenous cryogenic stage and GSLV MkIII, Mars Orbiter Mission, Astrosat, NavIC constellation, heaviest high throughput satellite, and technology demonstration missions of winged body Reusable Launch Vehicle & Scramjet engine.
“When we look towards the next decade, we must be aware that globally, the sector is facing disruption due to the entry of many private players, changing all aspects, including launch vehicles and human spaceflight, which were hitherto the domain of government space agencies,” he said.
In line with global directions, Isro requires to develop heavy lift launch vehicles, semi-cryogenic stages, reusable launch vehicles, advance propulsion, next generation avionics, advance materials, dynamic space applications and efficient integration of space based services as well as advanced space science missions, Sivan said.
“The situation is not different in our country; for the first time, we have a handful of entrepreneurs who’ve come forward to develop end-to-end launch vehicles and satellites with the intention of providing space-based services. Having taken note of this transformation, the government announced a series of initiatives to provide policy support and enable them to co-exist and achieve commercial success,” Sivan said.
He added that the Indian National Space Promotion & Authorization Center’s (IN-SPACe) interim committee is already making efforts to interface with 28 private players and processing applications, which would also put in place a seamless operating mechanism for IN-SPACe, as and when it becomes fully operational.
“It is expected very shortly,” Sivan said, adding that the commissioning of a second launch site at Kulasekarapattnam in Tamil Nadu, in near future will also give a major boost to entrepreneurs.
“With the expansion of the space sector, the work of Isro is going to increase with a major focus on innovation and development. Isro is a torch-bearer of innovation mainly due to the unique challenges with respect to the development, qualification and reliable operation of space systems in harsh space environments,” Sivan said, adding that the major projects in the pipeline are Chandrayaan-3, Aditya, Gaganyaan, among others.