In a significant development, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to set up a telescope on the moon. Commenting on the development, ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar disclosed that as a follow-on mission to Astrosat, discussions are in full swing with an international body regarding setting up of a telescope on the moon.
Responding to media queries on the sidelines of the second Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam memorial lecture at IIT Madras, Kumar revealed that the forthcoming telescope mission would have several advantages.
ISRO to remote control telescope from Virginia
Currently, ISRO engineers are exploring a wide range of possibilities including monitoring the activities of the telescope from West Virginia, USA. It will be remotely controlled from the headquarters in Bengaluru. During the course of experiments, the space agency should carefully observe scientific capabilities and the changes, which will probably directly affect the moon.
In September 2015, the ISRO launched Astrosat with two telescopes. According to reports, Astrosat is touted to be the India’s first astronomical satellites with multiple telescopes on board.
GSLV Mark III expected to launch before the end of 2016
Meanwhile, Kiran Kumar also said that the space agency is planning to launch GSLV Mark III before the end of 2016. The mission will put satellites weighing four tonnes into the orbit. If you look at the GSLV-Mark II, it had a total capacity to launch 2.25 tonnes of satellites.
Kumar also answered questions on the efficiency of the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) and cost associated with it. He said that technology was needed and will be implemented without considering the cost involved.
The vehicle will have the capability to carry objects into space including the ability to complete the orbital action. Kumar confirmed that ISRO is working on the development of this unique capability.
Towards the end of the Q&A session, he said that private providers such as SpaceX would pose a threat to ISRO’s future mission. However, they will not be able to survive beyond a certain period of time unless they shower innovations as per latest technological standards.