India's space agency, ISRO, has a packed schedule for the next few months. The agency is set to launch 10 missions in 100 days. These missions together will enable satellite-based internet in the country, ISRO chief Dr K Sivan said in an interview to NDTV.
The ISRO chief revealed that four high-throughput communication satellites will bridge the communication gap. These would be dedicated to the country's Digital India programme. The four satellites together will provide a 70-100 GB per second data link.
On November 14, ISRO successfully launched the GSLV Mk III or the "Baahubali" rocket that carried India's sophisticated GSAT-29 satellite into orbit. It was the ninth successful launch by ISRO this year.
Here is what Dr K Sivan told NDTV:
Q) Dr Sivan, congratulations on the second consecutively successful launch of Baahubali or GSLV Mk III, is the satellite GSAT 29 working well?
A) Let me thank you for the warm congratulations. The satellite is now in the right orbit. Subsequent to the launch, the three orbit manoeuvres were conducted on 15th, 16th and 17th of November. After reaching the correct orbit, now all the deployments regarding the solar array and antenna deployment also happened. The satellite is drifting towards its designated home at 55 degrees East.
Q) So getting ready for Digital India?
A) Sure. For the next 10 days, in-orbit testing will be carried out. After that, the satellite will be in service. We are getting ready for the Digital India programme.
Q) Then you have that big satellite to be launched from Kourou?
A) Yes. GSAT -9; GSAT -29; GSAT -11; and GSAT-20 will be launched next year. All these satellites combined will work for the digital India. It will provide almost around 70-100 GB per second data link. All the satellites will be useful for the Digital India program.
Q) In these next few weeks, how many missions are you doing? You have quite a packed schedule?
A) Actually that is true. If you have seen our schedule up till January, we have 10 missions; that is, four launch vehicle missions and six satellite missions. The immediate mission is PSLV C-43. Then the GSLV will launch GSAT-7A. Then another PSLV is going to launch EMISAT. Then GSLV Mk III will launch Chandryaan-2. Alongside, we have two procured launches that is GSAT-11 and GSAT-31. So we have totally 10 missions in a packed mission schedule.
Q) You are a hard taskmaster?
A) (Laughs) Not me. It is the ISRO's team. They really have a passion to do the work. That is the reason we are achieving so much.