The Indian Space Research
Organisation (Isro) started the year by making history through launching 104 satellites at one go on Wednesday and is expected to continue in the same vein as the space agency prepares its line-up of important launches this year.
"We are planning to launch two satellites, one each in March and April this year," said A S Kiran Kumar, Chairman at Isro.
P Kunhikrishnan, Director at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR) in Sriharikota, said that there are three missions to be launched in the first half of 2017 and activities are in progress at various centres of Isro.
At Sriharikota, a launch campaign of three different types of vehicles namely PSLV, GSLV
Mark-III, the next generation launch vehicle, have been progressing in a professional way. Activation of the entire launch complex facilities including the two solid propellant plants that deliver all the solid motors required for this mission is also underway.
This launch will be an important milestone for the future Indian space programmes.
Mark - III will be India's most powerful launch vehicle built to lift the country's heaviest communications satellites to space. It can loft satellites weighing 4,000 kg, which is double the weight that the current GSLV-Mk II can lift. It will also enable Isro
to launch satellites to geostationary orbits of 36,000 kms.
In the absence of a powerful launcher, Isro
currently launches satellites, weighing above 2,000 kg, on European rockets for a big fee.
K Sivan, director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) added that there are a series of missions, including the GSLV
Mark III, that are slated for launch in the near future.
The propulsion team has realised the C25 engine, the cryogenic engine for GSLV, and the stage has gone through a successful task for 50-second duration, making way for the GSLV
Mark III mission in the immediate future, said senior officials.
Another official said, Isro
is also developing and testing the Chandrayan
II lander propulsion which is getting ready for the integrated test on this month end or so.
"We are targeting first quarter of 2018 for the launch," said Kumar
Chandrayaan-2, India's second lunar mission, is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1. It consists of an orbiter, lander and rover.
"We are also getting ready for the C25 stages for its penultimate qualification test for full duration test for 640 seconds in few days from now. We have challenging times ahead and we are also getting ready for missions of PSLV, GSLV
Mark III in one or two months," said the official.