January 1, 2020
Chandrayaan-2 lunar orbiter to gather seven years of data studying the moon’s surface and outer atmosphere
Chandrayaan-3, with lander and rover worth US$35.2mn, to be the first-ever mission to explore the moon’s southern hemisphere
Gaganyaan will be the first Indian crewed flight carrying 3-7 astronauts, spending up to a week in a 400km orbit
ISRO confirms acquisition of 2,300 acres of land in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district for a second launch port
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman, K Sivan, announced on January 1 that ISRO has plans to embark on up to 25 space missions in 2020, kickstarting the next decade of space exploration and discovery for India. ISRO’s plans for the next few years include the Chandrayaan-3 project, the launch of Gaganyaan, the first Indian crewed space flight, and the acquisition of land in Tamil Nadu for a second spaceport, Mr. Sivan told a press conference.
Following the events of the recent Chandrayaan-2 mission, ISRO aims to overcome the challenge of performing a soft-landing on the lunar surface with the launch of the new Chandrayaan-3 mission, valued at close to US$84.3 million. The previous Chandrayaan-2 lunar orbiter will continue gathering data over the next seven years as it studies the moon’s surface and outer atmosphere. Estimated at a combined US$35.2 million, the lander and rover in the Chandrayaan-3 mission will travel to the moon on a GSLV Mk III propulsion vehicle, valued at US$49.2 million, as the first mission to explore the southern hemisphere of the moon.
First announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August 2018, the Gaganyaan spacecraft will consist of an entirely Indian crew of 3-7 astronauts, spending up to a week in outer space in a 400km orbit. According to Dr. K Sivan, testing for the mission is underway with the first of its manned pre-Gaganyaan flights to be launched later in 2020, along with six microgravity experiments that have been prioritised.
Additionally, plans are underway to create ISRO’s second launch port in India with the Tamil Nadu government confirming the acquisition of 2,300 acres of land in the Thoothukudi district. The new launch port, in addition to the Sriharikota launch centre in Andhra Pradesh, provides ISRO with a locational advantage and adds to its operations in South India. Upon completion, this second launch port will be used for the small satellite launch vehicle (SSLV) intended to transport up to 500kg payloads to outer space.