The euphoria of setting the 104-satellite-launch world record has settled and ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) has already begun work on future missions. After the PSLV C37 launch, the Indian space agency is looking to expand its rocket portfolio and the number of satellite launches.
Having launched the Chandrayaan 1 lunar probe mission in 2008, ISRO is planning to land on the moon now. The lunar probe stopped emitting signals in 2009. The Chandrayaan 2 mission plan envisages performing a soft landing on the surface of the moon and the use of a six-wheeled rover on the moon to conduct studies.
The spacecraft will have a lunar orbiter as well, which will orbit around the moon at a distance of 100 km, and relay signals and details of the samples collected by the rover. ISRO is planning to launch the Chandrayaan 2 early next year on a GSLV MK-II rocket.
GSLV MK - III
The GSLV MK-III is among ISRO's most ambitious rocket projects. After mastering PSLV launches and gaining expertise in GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle ) MK II launches, ISRO is finally ready to handle cryogenic engines that use liquefied gases or oxidisers stored at very low temperatures as fuel to propel the rocket.
The GSLV MK-III will have a payload capacity of 4,000 kg once tested successfully. This will open up new avenues for satellite launches. ISRO recently carried out a successful test of the rocket's D-stage engine at the Mahendragiri facility in Tamil Nadu. The rocket is scheduled to be launched in March with a GSAT-19 satellite payload. It will also have a special Geostationary Radiation Spectrometer (GRASP) payload to monitor and study the nature of charged particles.
SAARC Satellite and GSAT-9
These are the next two payloads that ISRO plans to deploy in space. In March, the space agency will launch a satellite that will benefit all the SAARC nations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced during the SAARC summit in Nepal in 2014 that India will contribute towards space technology that benefits SAARC nations. The satellite will be used for telemedicine and telecommunications. The GSAT-9 satellite launch is also on cards and both will be launched using the GSLV MK-II rocket.
Sun, Mars and Venus
One of ISRO's most ambitious projects, Aditya will study the sun. The project has been approved by the government and a team is working on it. Initially, the plan was to place the satellite at a distance of 800 km from the earth, but that has been revised. The Aditya L1 will now be placed 1.5 million km from the earth's surface in a Halo orbit.
The satellite will study the various layers of the sun, including light and magnetic effects. The mission is scheduled to be executed in 2019-20.
ISRO is also looking at launching a rover on the surface of Mars. After a successful probe mission with Mangalyaan I, this would be the next logical step. The agency is considering a Venus mission as well. ISRO director AS Kiran Kumar has said that study and feasibility teams for the mission have been established.
No manned mission or reusable rockets for now
After the PSLV C37 launch, ISRO clarified that in keeping with its priorities, there are no plans of a manned mission as of now. Also, while there are studies being conducted on reusable rockets there are no plans to develop them for commercial use in the foreseeable future.