India can become global hub for building and launching rockets, spacecraft: ISRO chairman S. Somanath

The ISRO chairman spoke of ISRO’s intention to carry out more missions focussed on scientific research such as the high-profile Chandrayaan moon missions and the Aditya-L1 solar probe

February 10, 2024 06:26 pm | Updated February 15, 2024 03:03 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

A file photo of ISRO Chairman S. Somanath

A file photo of ISRO Chairman S. Somanath | Photo Credit: M.A. Sriram

India can position itself as a hub for multinational companies to build and launch their rockets and spacecraft from, S. Somanath, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), said here on Saturday.

Discussions were on with companies like Boeing in this regard, Mr. Somanath said during a conversation with award-winning writer and former ISRO engineer V.J. James at the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters (MBIFL ‘24) here.

“Why not build and launch rockets from India? For that, we need to develop the ecosystem here,” Mr. Somanath said.

‘Sustained science programme’

The ISRO chairman spoke of ISRO’s intention to carry out more missions focussed on scientific research such as the high-profile Chandrayaan moon missions and the Aditya-L1 solar probe.

“Now such missions are conducted once in a while. We need to have a more sustained science programme,” he said. Mr. Somanath reiterated ISRO’s plans to develop India’s own space station and crewed space missions, more missions to the moon and Mars and also have an Indian land on the lunar surface by 2040. “That’s the vision towards which we are working,” he said.

On the policy changes in the Indian space sector, Mr. Somanath observed that the space sector has emerged from behind a veil of secrecy and into an era of economic and commercial activity with the involvement of more players. By pushing the manufacturing side to the private sector, ISRO can focus more and more on research and scientific missions, he pointed out.

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