ISRO plans to launch 31 satellites in 16 months

Scientist Vikram Sarabhai

Chennai: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has planned to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of its first Chairman Vikram Sarabhai for one year.

Christened as ‘Vikram Sarabhai Centenary Celebrations’, the events and launch of new initiatives got kickstarted with the unveiling of his bust at the ISRO headquarters, Antariksh Bhavan.

Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai was a renowned cosmic ray scientist and innovator widely regarded as the father of India’s space programme.

For his activities and development’s in ISRO, Sarabhai received the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Medal in 1962. The nation also honoured him awarding Padma Bhushan in 1966 and Padma Vibhushan (posthumously) in 1972.

One of the first developments to come forward this year is the launch of ISRO TV channel. According to the organisation, it will be educational channel showcasing space applications, developments and science issues, targeting young viewers and people in remote areas in their own languages.

Secondly, ISRO will be naming the first Indian moon landing spacecraft of the Chandrayaan-2 mission ‘Vikram’. The mission is planned for early 2019.

A chair each at Sarabhai’s two alma maters, Cambridge University and Gujarat University, as also at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), would be set up, apart from giving awards, scholarships and fellowships in the country and abroad.

Thirdly, the organisation will be launching two space missions every month, with 31 launches slated to take place over the coming 16 months.

The space agency is targeting nine launches over the next five months and 22 missions from February to December in 2019.

Among the key missions in the coming few months are the launches of GSAT-29 onboard Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk 3 D2 in October to facilitate internet to rural India, GSAT-11 on 30 November onboard Arianespace space agency’s rocket from French Guiana on the north Atlantic coast of South America.

Fourthly, it has planned 100 lectures by science luminaries across the country and in association with the International Astronautical Federation, the global space networking body. Space clubs, knowledge centres and talk shows are also among the plan.

ISRO will start allowing the public to watch satellite launches from its Sriharikota launch centre. It will be opening its space port to visitors just as like what NASA does.

It has also announced its plans to launch incubators to groom space startups which build newer solutions in rocketry, communication satellites and applications from remote sensing data.

The idea is to help the space startups that could be exploited commercially and create a strong local commercial space ecosystem in the country.


As the celebrations have been planned for one year, ISRO has planned the events with an initial outlay of Rs 50 crore. It is to be noted that the agency will also be shelling Rs 800 crore for its upcoming Chandrayaan-2 mission.