‘ISRO Is Trying To Create Space Tourism For Future India’: Chairman S Somanath At IISF 2023

IISF 2023: At the India International Science Festival (IISF) 2023, Dr S Somanath, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), spoke about avenues space tourism and the development of reusable rockets. He also spoke about the electronics industry.

Space tourism in India

“ISRO is trying to create space tourism for future India,” Somanath said at the “New Frontiers in Science” event in the IISF. This year, the IISF was held in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, from January 21 to January 24, 2023.

A presentation shared by ISRO showed that India plans to develop fully composite modules for use in space tourism missions.

Strengthening India’s navigation systems

Somanath also spoke about the importance of strengthening navigation systems, and that there should be wider coverage of NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation).

Future rockets of India

A presentation shared by ISRO at IISF read that the space agency intends to develop a Next-Gen Launch Vehicle (NGLV), through public and private partnership. The potential uses of the launch vehicle will be launching multiple communication satellites, deep space missions, will be used for future human spaceflight missions, cargo missions, and to send satellite constellations to Earth orbit. The rocket will be modular, cost-effective and reusable.

“We want the future of India to build rockets for space,” Somanath said.

“We have to create a flourishing electronics industry in India for the future,” he further said.

Use of methane in future rockets

Somanath also said that “methane is a very important fuel for the future”. SpaceX uses methane-based fuel to develop its rockets because methane has the potential to be cleaner and safer than solid propellants, liquid hydrogen and other fuels currently used.

He also said that “science and technology is the only way to make our nation stronger”.

Should humans go to Mars?

Dr Somanath also answered questions on whether humans should go to Mars.

In an interview to DD News, Somanath said the idea of humans going to Mars is good because if an asteroid hits Earth, the Red Planet can be a place where people can live until conditions on the Blue Planet are back to normal.

MoU between ISRO and Vijnana Bharati

On January 24, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between ISRO and Vijnana Bharati, a national movement dedicated to the integrated development of India through the intervention of science, engineering and technology. The MoU was signed for a joint nationwide space science outreach program called “Space in Wheels”.

Upcoming ISRO missions

The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) has finished building the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC), the largest payload that would fly on Aditya L1, which is set to become India’s first mission to study the Sun. The IIA will formally hand it over to the ISRO chairman on Thursday, January 26, news agency PTI reported.

A 400-kilogram satellite will be launched to a halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) of the Sun-Earth system. Langrangian points are points in space where objects sent there tend to stay put, with L1 being the most significant. L1 is located 1.5 million kilometres from Earth.

Since Aditya L1 will be placed around L1, it can continuously view the Sun. The satellite will be equipped with a total of seven payloads, including the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph.

The main objective of the mission is to observe the Sun’s corona, a term used to describe the outer layers of Earth’s host star. The project also aims to understand the dynamic processes taking place within the Sun.

The mission, which will carry seven payloads to observe the photosphere, chromosphere and the outermost layers of the Sun, is expected to be launched by the middle of 2023. According to

ISRO, the Aditya L1 mission will provide greater advantage by observing solar activities and their effect on space weather.