Eminent space scientist G Madhavan Nair indicated that India planning to launch 103 satellites in a single mission next month is no big deal as the country has already proved such capability, and advocated the need for Isro to focus on reviving human spaceflight venture and other technology development.
"Multiple launches we have proven (our capability) years back. So, there is nothing new in that. Within the 1500 kg capacity, you can carry as many satellites as possible," the former Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation told PTI, when asked about the coming PSLV mission.
"Today, many of the student projects have come to micro and nano satellites weighing even a fraction of a kilogram. So, it (next month's PSLV mission with 103 satellites on board) cannot be talked about as a big milestone," he said.
"But at the same time, in last five years, what are the new programmes that Isro has launched? it's zero," Nair said.
Pointing out that India today is reaping the benefits of what it had invested in the space field in the past, he said, "It's like a big flywheel, it's running down. If you don't give occasional kick, the so-called technology advantage and leadership Isro has enjoyed, will slowly come down. It will also become like any other routine department."
On what Isro needs to do, he said the human spaceflight project should be revived and given a kickstart.
"It's not only just mission and hype but a host of new technologies will get developed for that, like life support system in space, and perfecting recovery and reusable technology capabilities," he said.
According to him, Isro had initiated societal programme based on space technologies long back, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also stressed the need for using them to penetrate and reach out to the poor in his first Independence Day speech.
"Nothing is visible, we are just talking. Spacecraft technologies also we have to go a long way. We are still five years behind others (leading space-faring nations) in terms of technical skills and capability," Nair added.