Reusable rockets have been a hot topic among space enthusiasts.
Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization – S Somanath earlier this week announced that it plans to design and make new reusable rockets for the global market that would significantly reduce the cost of launching satellites.
Speaking at the Bengaluru Space Expo (BSX) 2022, Somnath said that currently it takes about $10,000 (roughly Rs. 7,98,000) to $15,000 (roughly Rs. 11,97, 000) to put a one kilogram payload into orbit. The space agency needs to reduce it to $5,000 (roughly Rs. 3,98,000) or even $1,000 (roughly Rs. 79,700) per kg to make the reusable rockets.
“Today in India we don’t have reusable technology yet in launch vehicles (rockets). So, the idea is the next rocket that we are going to build after GSLV Mk III should be a reusable rocket,” Somanth said, as cited by PTI and read on the Indian Express.
ISRO chief further told PTI that the space organization has been working on various technologies including the Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator. This combined with partnerships with industry, startups, and its commercial arm NewSpace India Limited would aid ISRO in designing and building a new reusable rocket.
“We would like to see such a rocket, a rocket which will be competitive enough, a rocket that will be cost-conscious, production-friendly which will be built in India but operated globally for the services of the space sector. This should happen in the next few years so that we can retire all those operating launch vehicles (in India) at appropriate time,” Somnath said.
Reusable rockets have been a hot topic among space enthusiasts. It is the backbone of Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The concept has aided Musk in reducing costs, giving him an edge over his competitors. An example of this could be: the per-seat cost of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, the first private spacecraft to take humans to the space station, which is around $55 million. According to a report, this is “roughly 60% less than both Boeing Starliner (projected at $90 million) and the Russian Soyuz (then $85 million).”
Hence, it is safe to say that reusability is a crucial breakthrough needed to make space missions more feasible, opening doors to increased space travel. The move towards reusable rockets could help Asia’s third-largest economy to strengthen its foot in space.