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India to test reusable launch vehicle in September: ISRO

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An artistic illustration of the Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Demonstrator. An ISRO image

NEW DELHI (PTI): India will test a reusable launch vehicle in September, a technology that will bring down costs of launching satellites significantly, Government said on Monday.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will also launch Astrosat, India's first dedicated satellite for astronomy by September this year.

"This is in its initial stages. There are multiple experiments which need to be completed. The first launch is in September and this will help improve cost effectiveness. It will reduce the cost by one-tenth.

"The launch vehicle will be landing first time in the ocean and the ultimate attempt is to make it land at an air-strip at Sriharikota," ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar said.

Addressing a news conference to highlight the landmark of the first anniversary of the NDA government in the arena of space, Minister for State, Department of Space, Jitendra Singh said India will complete the launch of two satellites of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) series next year.

The Minister said over the past one year, the space department has launched 11 satellites.

"The satellite (of Astrosat) was delayed because one of the payloads had a component and there was an issue with respect to that. Now the satellite is fully integrated and the environmental test is fully in progress and it will be launched in September this year," Kumar said.

Kumar, who is also the Space secretary, said that the country's lunar mission will take three more years for the satellite to launch.

Speaking about the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), Kumar said of the images it has received from the mission, it is in process of making the validating and analysing the discoveries it has made before making it public.

"We have a working arrangement with NASA. We are also in discussion with CNES (French space agency). Recently we had a discussion with the UAE. It wants to have a Mars Mission for 2020. So they are interested in making use of the expertise available here," he said.

The Minister also launched an Andriod based application 'Sakaar' which can help get a better understanding of ISRO's projects. The application consists of three-dimesional models of MOM and its orbit insertion, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehcile (GLSV) Mark III, videos of INSAT 3D predicting cyclones.

"We will be distributing this in schools and other institutes for free so that students can get a better understanding of our space working," he said.

Kumar said that the space agency will also launch UK's Disaster Monitoring Constellation satellite next month.

Responding to a question on space debris, Kumar said India is not generating much of it and it ensures that ISRO's expeditions do not lead to its creation.

"Debris issue is important, but it has still not reached a level where it can be termed as a catastrophic. But with more and more small satellites being launched, the problem is expected to increase," Kumar said.

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