Isro chairman Sivan K said: “We could not complete a few tests. Now we are looking at a March-April window.” If Isro misses this window, the mission would be pushed to June, he added. While the new configuration of the lander had caused some delay, Isro was also engaged in multiple launches in the second half of 2018, which affected work on the moon mission.
On the telecom department’s requests for satellites, including resources to allow operators to provide in-flight call services, Sivan said: “We already have GSAT-29, GSAT-11 and GSAT-20 among other satellites, which will complete the Digital India programme by enhancing internet speed. These can also be used for in-flight calls. Talks are on.”
Sivan said Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and L&T would lead a consortium that would build the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), which has been Isro’s workhorse for years. He also said the consortium would build GSLV class rockets.
He said that of the Rs 30,000 crore sanctioned by the government for various programmes – including Rs 10,000 crore for Gaganyaan – 80% would go to the private sector.
Sivan listed launches and projects lined up for 2019 apart from Gaganyaan. Among them are key tests of the Re-usable Launch Vehicle, a PSLV launch that will test a new technology on its fourth stage and GSAT-20, planned for October-September.