India plans to have at least one rocket launch every month in 2018 from its spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh to deploy satellites in orbit, said a top space official today. “We are planning to have at least one launch mission a month in 2018 to deploy satellites in the earth’s orbit for various applications,” said Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman AS Kiran Kumar. “For 2018-19 and 2019-20 financial years, we are looking to receive increased budgets from the country in view of the missions,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of a Gallery on Space Technology at Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum. ISRO was given a budget of about Rs. 9,000 crore for 2017-18. The first of the missions ahead is likely to be the launch of Cartosat-2E remote-sensing spacecraft along with 28 nano- and micro-satellites in early January if delayed from December-end. On Chandrayan-2 mission, Mr Kumar said the work on realising the satellite was in full swing. The launch is likely to take place by the first quarter of 2018. The state-run ISRO is also expected to carry a 600-kg spacecraft designed by TeamIndus on its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) before March 31, 2018, for the city-based firm to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE. “There are still a lot of discussions that are going on with TeamIndus regarding the launch,” the ISRO chief said. TeamIndus is the only Indian team among the five finalists competing for the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE, a competition meant to challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. At a gathering of students at the opening of the space technology gallery, Mr Kumar said: “You’re at the prime moment where India as a country is surging ahead. India has got every potential to be the number one in the world, for which each of you must put in your best efforts.” Astrosat, the country’s first space observatory, was one of the best satellites in the category providing Indian scientists with access to data about the edge of the universe, he said. “It is never too late to do anything in science and technology. We can always make a mark. When we put in our best efforts, no one can beat us,” the ISRO head said. Former ISRO Chairman and National Education Policy Committee Chairman Mr K Kasturirangan, and National Council for Science Museums Director General Mr AS Manekar were also present.