The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is working on a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) exclusively to launch small satellites which may be ready as early as 2019, reports News18. These new rockets will able to carry a payload of 700 kg while bringing down the cost to one-tenth of the original Rs 150 to 500 crore range. A recent report by Geospatial Media quotes an ISRO official stating that there is potential to reduce a PSLV's cost drastically while increasing its production capacity. “If this mission is successful, ISRO will defy all conventional wisdom in a launch market that has increasingly shied away from making dedicated launches for small satellites,” said an ISRO official.
With ISRO looking to privatise the manufacturing of PSLVs by 2020 in order to increase the number of launches at reduced costs, the space agency is now looking to manufacture smaller PSLVs with a production time per vehicle coming down to three days as opposed to the regular 40 days.
Post the record-setting launch of 104 satellites on a single PSLV in February, ISRO has actively been considering increasing the number of launches. With smaller vehicles being produced globally and launched before by various private and public sector agencies, ISRO is seeking to capitalise on the momentum and achieve success around smaller vehicles.
The concept of using smaller rockets to reduce costs is not new however. SpaceX founder Elon Musk had had said that the planned interplanetary rocket 'BFR' would be scaled down for use within the Earth’s orbit and the revenue raised from that could be used for future space expeditions.
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