The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is renowned for having carried out space science missions including Mangalyaan (Mars Orbiter Mission), Chandrayaan 1 & 2 (Lunar Orbiter and Observation Missions), and others. While the frequency of launches did decline during the epidemic years of 2020 and 2021, ISRO still has a full launch schedule for the years to follow.
The majority of ISRO’s launches fall into one of two categories: ‘National Missions,’ which are intended to meet India’s own strategic needs, and ‘Commercial Missions,’ in which India offers its launch services to private businesses or foreign nations who pay to have their satellites launched from India.
However, national missions are not just about launching satellites for routine purposes such as navigation, telecommunication, Earth observation, strategic use, etc. Another crucial kind of national mission are those that are done for space exploration and interplanetary studies, etc. Such science missions are not just national in scope, but also benefit the larger global scientific community.
India’s Minister of State for Science and Technology, Dr. Jitendra Singh, said in the Lower House of Parliament that the country would launch five science missions by 2025. The following mission names, authorised costs, and anticipated launch dates are provided:
Aditya-L1, at a cost of Rs.3.7billion, launch by Q1 2023; Chandrayaan-3, at a cost of Rs.2.5billion, launch by Q1 2023, XPoSAT, at a cost of Rs 0.60 billion, launch by Q2 2023, Space Docking Experiment, at a cost of Rs.1.24billion, launch by Q3 2024 and Gaganyaan at a cost of Rs.90.23 billion, whereas the first milestone of Gaganyaan Abort Demonstration will be carried out by Q4 2022
Chandrayaan-3 is the nation’s third lunar mission and its second attempt at a lunar landing, while XPoSAT is designed to investigate the polarisation of X-rays in space. Aditya L1 is an Indian satellite mission that aims to research the Corona (outer layers) of the Sun and other associated sciences. A project called the ‘Space Docking experiment’ entails launching two distinct spacecraft and making sure they can dock and work together as a single body while in orbit.
The ability to undertake in-space refuelling of satellites, construct a space station, transfer astronauts from one ship to another, etc. depends on this vital technology of in-space docking.
A research mission called Gaganyaan will launch Indian astronauts into orbit from an Indian spaceport and use an Indian rocket to do so. Gaganyaan requires ISRO to fundamentally upgrade its GSLV Mark 3 cargo-carrier rocket and make it dependable enough to carry astronauts.
According to ISRO Chairman Dr.S. Somanath, ISRO would need to test its Crew Escape system in 2022, then launch its first unmanned mission in the middle of 2023, then conduct two additional escape tests and a second unmanned mission before launching a manned flight (expected in 2024).