After a year shown by little launch activity and one high-profile collapse, the head of India’s space program says he expects much more in 2022. This is involving an uncrewed test flight for its human spaceflight program.
In a New Year’s message published on 3rd January, K. Sivan, chairman of ISRO, acknowledges that 2021 was something of a lost year for the organization. However, expresses positivity for the coming year.
“There is a feeling that very little turn out in ISRO during 2021. That feeling is mainly due to a smaller number of releases,” he writes. He went on, though, to thank ISRO staff for “very substantial contributions” to both operating missions and those still in progress.
ISRO carries out only two launches in 2021 –
- A Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) launched several satellites for India, Brazil, and the United States in February.
- A Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle lifted off in August including an Earth-imaging satellite. However, an upper-stage failure prevented the payload from reaching orbit.
Sivan says in the message that a committee recognizes the root source of the failure and gave suggestions. However, ISRO has not revealed the details of that investigation or its recommendations. “Basic design modifications are being merged in order to improve the robustness of concerned systems,” he writes.
One reason for the lack of activity at ISRO in 2021 was the pandemic, which led to widespread lockdowns in the nation. Sivan hints more such lockdowns may come due to the newest variant of the virus, omicron, that is now moving the world.
“The last few months were a lull period for ISRO, due to Corona. Though, all signs point to the next impending wave,” he writes. “I am sure that with the cooperation from all of you, we will be prepared for facing any consequence.”