This astounding success rate has made it a world leader in the light satellite launch sector.
The perfect launch of remote-sensing Resourcesat-2A on Wednesday rounds off a great year for Indian space research. Nine missions that took off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre off the Bay of Bengal were all successful, a significant one being the powerful GSLV’s launch. Isro is one Indian organisation that stands out for its to-the-minute precision through another tumultuous year, unlike most segments of Indian life. This astounding success rate has made it a world leader in the light satellite launch sector. Having placed 79 satellites of 21 different nations in orbit till now, Isro also aimed higher this year in terms of futuristic research in its flight demonstration in August of the hypsersonic air-breathing dual mode ramjet engine, popularly called the scramjet, using atmospheric oxygen for a part of its journey.
Isro’s ongoing programmes in developing reusable launch vehicles, along with its capabilities in offering access to space at a very economical price means it’s in an enviable position globally in cutting-edge technology in research as well as space transportation of the future. What makes its last launch of 2016 significant is the extent of technology indigenisation, including remote fuelling and using its Navic system to navigate the launch vessel rather than depend on foreign help. Efforts to reduce propellant mass and rocket size to take on higher payloads are aimed at tackling keys to the future of space launches. There are exciting projects on the anvil for 2017, and given Isro’s track record we can look forward confidently to more feathers on the cap of an elite organisation.