- ISRO chief gave the keynote address at the EC-2022 and unveiled the NGLV vehicle.
- The NGLV vehicle will be reusable and powered by more efficient fuels than its predecessor the prolific PSLV.
- The PSLV was finally retired after its first launch in 1994, having contributed to the success of missions such as Chandrayaan 1.
Dr. S. Somanath, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO), recently graced the Engineers Conclave 2022. EC-2022 was held during October 13-15, 2022 at the LPSC Thiruvananthapuram.
The meeting turned out to be a treat for the future of space exploration and research in India as Dr. Somnath announced the birth of the Next Gen Launch Vehicle(NGLV).
NGLV is set to replace the veteran Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle(PSLV) rocket which has completed over 50 launches to date for ISRO, with another 30 launches planned to date.
The promise of NGLV
Giving the keynote address at EC 2022 Dr. Somnath declared his vision for the Indian space program and industry and unveiled the NGLV.
He suggested that India must consider developing a low-cost launcher in the future which will be more cost-effective and easier to manufacture. He stated that the teams at ISRO are currently working on developing this next-generation rocket which is expected to be powered by methane and liquid oxygen, kerosene, and liquid oxygen.
Speaking about retiring India’s prolific PSLV he said that the vehicle must be made to stop its flight since PSLV technology is from the 1980s and cannot be used for missions in the 2030s.
The NGLV specs
Next-Gen Launch Vehicle (NGLV) has the primary aim of being a heavy-lift vehicle which is reusable.
It will have three stages to orbit and a ten-ton payload capacity for geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).
The NGLV has semi-cryogenic propulsion which is a very big added advantage as it is more affordable and effective. The booster stages will be using refined kerosene as fuel and for the use of Liquid Oxygen (LOX) will act as the oxidizer. These are all better options than traditional fuels.
The design will be very straightforward and highly durable to enable mass production which will be rapid too. Keeping it free from complications will also enable modularity in systems, subsystems, and a sufficient quick turnaround.
Another major improvement is the fact that the NGLV will also function as a reusable launch vehicle. Following in the footsteps of Elon Musk-led Tesla, the reusable variant of the NGLV will also have a lower payload capacity.
SpaceX has been launching its Falcon 9 rocket regularly now. According to sources close to the project of NGLV, while theFalcon 9 has an eight-tonne GTO capacity and a twenty-two-tonne LEO capacity, which is very similar to the one in NGLV.
The reusability will be a boon for the environment and reduce the immense amounts of waste produced during any launch.
The NGLV will be used in various kinds of launches from communication satellites to deep space missions. It is also being planned that the upcoming human spaceflight and cargo missions can also be undertaken with the help of the highly technologically advanced yet simple Next Gen Launch Vehicle.
A note on PSLV
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is India’s third-generation launch vehicle. It is the first-ever launch vehicle in our country which uses liquid stages.
It was launched successfully for the first time in October 1994. After its initial fruitful launch, the PSLV has risen in prominence and turned out to be India’s most reliable and adaptable workhorse when it comes to launching vehicles. The vehicle has launched numerous customer satellites which also include foreign satellites, not just the ones made in our country.
The two of the most significant and most successful launches are the launch of Chandrayaan 1 in the year 2008. Then 5 years later in 2013, Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was launched as well.
Both of these launches went through very smoothly and the vehicles visited the Moon and Mars respectively. The PSLV program’s 50th launch is PSLV-C48. Due to its highly dependable nature of having launched numerous satellites into low-Earth orbit, PSLV is also called the “workhorse of ISRO” especially for the satellites that belong to the IRS category