When space faring nations are focused on innovative cost-effective launches, ISRO with its commercial arm, Antrix Corporation is set on its challenge of developing low-cost reliable space launch vehicles. Now, with increasing global competition, India needs to focus on cost effectivespace launches by re-engineering the production models of space vehicles and design manufacturing to drive down the cost of space launches, Antrix chairman and managing director (CMD) Mr. S Rakesh said. “At the global level, lot of developments are happening in terms of small satellite launches and some low cost space launch vehicles are coming up. In about three to five years, globally it is aimed at reducing the space launch costs further. Many countries, including US, Ukraine, Russia, China and New Zealand are developing it. We are seeing threats from different quarters of the world and India should gear up to meet the challenges of global competition,” Antrix CMD Mr. S Rakesh told TOI. Further he said, “I am cautioning our community that, PSLV has an edge, as it is a sought-after launch vehicle in the global market and should keep it that way. All other launch vehicles should be made cost-effective”. He was speaking on the side lines of the tenth National symposium and exhibition on Aerospace and Defence related Mechanisms seminar (ARMS 2016) that began here. He also inaugurated the aerospace expo here that will be wound up. According to ISRO sources the cost of SAARC satellite launch in March 2017 is estimated at Rs 236 crore and PSLV launch pegged at Rs 90 to Rs 100 crore, the European space agency’s Ariane-5 rocket launch incurs Rs 721 crore and the US space manufacturer Space X’s Falcon-9 incurs around Rs 500 crore. Yet, they are set to reduce the costs further by recovering and reusing the boosters. “US space venture such as Space X are into recovery and re-use of boosters after the launch and it reduces the cost by 40 per cent. India has developed the technology demonstrator of Reusable Launch Vehicle and is yet to attain the stage of recovery of the launch vehicle after it lands, so that it can be re-used to reduce the cost of launches. We are trying to keep pace with the world and it’s a major challenge,” VSSC former director Mr. S Ramakrishnan told TOI. Lowering the costs further calls for high-end innovative space technology, he said. While, inaugurating ARMS through video conference, ISRO chairman Mr. AS Kiran Kumar emphasized that young engineers should concentrate more on the modelling and analysis of the complex systems for better prediction of flight performance. He said the seminar is attended by more than 300 technocrats, engineers, scientists and industry specialists Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) director Mr. K Sivan in his presidential address stressed that cost-effective, autonomous and Reliable space systems are the need of the hour and asked the scientific community to strive towards this aim. He also spoke of the vital role that the mechanisms play for the future missions like the Human in Space program and other interplanetary missions that are in the pipeline. Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre director Mr. S Somnath spoke of the important role that various Deployable and Hold down mechanisms need to play in the advanced satellite systems and in various docking, rendezvous activities that are going to the part and parcel of future space missions. He also released the souvenir. Indian National Society for Aerospace and Defence Related Mechanisms (INSARM) National Council president AM Datar released the seminar proceedings.
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