Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh), Nov 5 (IANS) The Indian space agency is not spreading itself thin looking at various space missions like solar, moon, mars and others and the Mars mission has not diverted its attention, said a top space agency official.
Stressing that all the space missions had several common technologies that can be used in future satellites, K. Radhakrishnan, chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), said: "We are not certainly spreading ourself thin."
He said ISRO was able to build Mars orbiter in a matter of 15 months. This was possible because the satellite platform is modular and common.
Radhakrishnan said ISRO has several inter-planetary missions on the anvil - Aditya mission to explore sun's corona and another to asteroid Vesta (which lies between Mars and Jupiter). In addition, ISRO plans another moon mission: Chandrayaan-2 in 2016.
He said ISRO plans to fly its heavier rocket geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) with its own cryogenic engine this December.
Declaring that ISRO is focussing on all areas - rockets and satellites - Radhakrishnan said the space agency would send communication satellites to increase its total number of transponders to 400.
In the remote sensing/earth observation satellites, the focus will be on increasing the imaging capacity.
On the navigation satellite side, one more satellite is planned to be launched early next year and five more in 18 months.
Radhakrishnan said ISRO would also have a new rocket - GSLV Mark III - by 2016-17. The space agency is also in the process of developing a 200-tonne engine.
On ISRO's plans to have third launch pad, M.Y.S. Prasad, director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, said it was being studied.
He said a new vehicle/rocket assembly building would be built which would enable ISRO to increase the number of rocket launches from eight now to 12 per year.
Queried about Mars orbiter that was injected in its intended elliptical orbit by an Indian rocket Tuesday, Radhakrishnan said: "Post injection, several operations have been performed. The space craft is in good health. The solar panels have been deployed."
According to P. Kunhikrishnan, project director, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle programme, the Mars oribiter was injected in orbit as it was originally targeted but for very minor variation.
S. Arunan, project director, Mars Orbiter Mission, said several operations have been executed after the satellite was ejected into the space and it was being tracked by various tracking stations.
Radhakrishnan said as the orbiter was injected with near precision, the consumption of on-board fuel (around 855 kg) will also be as per plans while raising the spacecraft's orbit further.
He said the crucial operation would be Dec 1 when the orbiter would be sent towards Mars orbit and in Sept 2014, another operation would be to take spacecraft towards the red planet's orbit.
Reiterating that India is not in any space race, Radhakrishnan said the space agency is in race with itself.
"Our space programmes are people and application centric. The space programmes have brought benefit to common people and the fact has been recognised globally," he said.
According to him, the Mars orbiter mission will be the fitting tribute for the visionaries of the Indian space programme.
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