Launch of Chandrayaan-3, first unmanned space flight of Gaganyaan set for December 2021

New Delhi: India is all set to launch Brazil’s first indigenously made satellite- Amazonia-1 onboard its old warhorse PSLV from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh later this month.

“The New Space India Ltd (NSIL), a newly formed public sector undertaking under the Department of Space will execute the PSLV-CS51 launch, carrying the Amazonia satellite from Brazil along with a few smaller Indian satellites,” said finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the union budget in Parliament on Monday. 

The PSLV C-51 launch is scheduled for 28 February. Apart from the main payload — Amazonia-1 which is the first satellite to have been developed by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Brazil, the rocket will also carry three other satellites onboard.

NSIL was set up in March 2019 to commercially exploit the research and development work of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) centres and constituent units of DOS. It is mandated to carry out the small satellite technology transfer to industry wherein NSIL will obtain license from DOS/ISRO and sub-licence it to industries. Apart from that, it also looks into manufacturing of small satellite launch vehicle (SSLV) in collaboration with the private sector, production of PSLVs through Indian industry, marketing of space based products and services, including launch and application and transfer of technology developed by ISRO Centres and constituent units of DOS.

The Department of Space was allocated Rs 13,949 crores in the 2021-22 budget presented on Monday, out of which Rs 8,228 crores have been earmarked for capital expenditure. A total of Rs 700 crore has been allotted to ISRO’s commercial arm — NSIL.

Sitharaman also highlighted that 2021 will be the year of many important milestones for the country’s history and the launch of Chandrayaan-3 will be one of them. The mission is expected to take off in December this year. India’s third visit to the moon was planned after Chandrayaan-2 launched in July 2019 could not complete its target of achieving a successful soft landing on the lunar surface.

Meanwhile, the work on India’s first human spaceflight mission – Gaganyaan is also in full swing. “As part of the Gaganyaan mission activities, four Indian astronauts are being trained on generic space flight aspects, in Russia. The first unmanned launch is slated for December 2021,” added the finance minister.