India is emerging as a strong player in the global commercial market with the latest launch of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday as he addressed the latest episode of “Mann Ki Baat”.
In the new feat, the space agency’s heaviest rocket- LVM-3 – last week launched 36 communication satellites into space following a collaboration between its commercial wing – NSIL (NewSpace India Limited) – and the United Kingdom-based OneWeb. The project would soon be in its next phase for the launch of another 36 broadband satellites.
With last week’s launch, which came ahead of Diwali, the space agency’s heaviest launcher has entered the global commercial market. “While talking to you people, I am reminded of the time when India was denied Cryogenic Rocket Technology. After that, the Indian scientists not just developed the space tech in India, but the ISRO has been sending dozens of satellites to space,” PM Modi said in his latest radio address. The Modi government has been pushing for self-reliance – or Atmanirbharta – across sectors.
His comments were in reference to the ISRO’s success with Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) project and the launch of GSLV-D5, powered by a cryogenic engine, about 10 years ago. This was after the space agency struggled with the cryogenic technology for decades, also due to US sanctions and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
In the 1990s, a key committee in the US had voted to block economic aid to Russia if it had decided to go ahead with a $250 million rocket deal with India. “I am confident that the Russian leaders will recognize the wisdom of stopping this sale once they see the risk of losing their economic aid. This is no minor sale; this is dangerous,” Joe Biden, who was a panel member at the time, had said at time, as per a report by the Los Angeles Times.