What ISRO stands to gain from Gaganyaan?
New Delhi, Feb 22: Successfully executing the Gaganyaan mission, India's first human space-flight program, is likely to open new avenues for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). For one, there would be a paradigm shift in the way world looks at ISRO's capabilities in terms of space exploration and ability to put satellites in orbits.
The success of Gaganyan can prove India's ability to develop complex technologies and would establish ISRO as a major space power. ISRO has been launching small-medium weight satellites into the orbit and its launch vehicle PSLV has demonstrated commendable capabilities in this field.
Last year, ISRO successfully launched a record 104 satellites onboard its workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in a single mission. Out of these 104 satellites, 101 satellites were of foreign countries - 96 from the US and one each from Israel, UAE, Netherlands, Switzerland and Kazakhstan.
PSLV has good track record of launching small satellites, and India also has a medium lift launch vehicle GSLV Mk-3 which can carry 4 ton class of satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) or about 10 tons to Low Earth Orbit (LEO)
What Ganaganyaan can do is to give ISRO a much required impetus in the highly competitive satellite launch martket which is expanding into a multi-billion industry. When PSLV orbited about 100 small satellites in a single launch, it demonstrated its fourth stage restart capability targeting multiple orbits. ISRO is also working on developing a dedicated small satellite launch vehicle (SSLV) which is likely to start launches this year.
Having a range of launch vehicles capable of orbiting a wide variety satellites is one thing, but gaining trust of international customers who have for decades relied on European and American companies for launches is another. It is in this respect that Gaganyaan would help. It would help ISRO to emerge as a trustable brand in the field of space technology.
A combination of PSLV and SSLV will retain India's competitive edge in the global launch vehicle market and Gaganyaan would help it establish as a big brand in this competetive market.
Gaganyaan can also encourage ISRO to dive into lucrative business of 'Space Tourism'. If India does enter space tourism, the impact would be huge as investment in space tourism can generate revenues and employment on a sizeable scale. Space tourism would require personnel for building the spacecraft, to training travellers, to investment and insurance.