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Private players will make space more accessible: ISRO Chief

BENGALURU (PTI): Private players in space technology will certainly help speed up the research in the field, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman S Somanath has said while interacting with space enthusiasts, through the official Instagram page of ISRO.

Replying to an observation that SpaceX, a private entity, has contributed more to space technology than most countries, Somanath on Saturday said America’s tradition of encouraging private companies to involve themselves in building rocket engines and, in the case of SpaceX, to explore human flight vehicles, can be replicated by India.

He said these companies are playing a crucial role in advancing technology, reducing costs and making space more accessible.

It is possible for even private companies in India to develop these kinds of capabilities, he added.

However, he said this is only possible if the government supports the private entity. “For instance, some of the technology that is owned by NASA is transferred to Space X so that they could develop faster. This is why SpaceX has made such strides, it had nearly 45 launches this year," said Somanath.

He said already there are two companies working in India – Skyroot Aerospace and Agnikul Cosmos. “We are all excited to see India going this way. These companies have already tested launch vehicles. It is an interesting development,” said the ISRO Chairman.

Answering a question on Chandrayaan-4, Somanath also shared an update on India’s next Moon mission.

According to him, Chandrayaan-4 mission is being developed as a continuation of the Chandrayaan series.

“Prime Minister Modi has announced that India intends to land on the Moon in 2040. To achieve this goal, continuous Moon exploration is necessary. Chandrayaan-4 will be the first step towards this objective. The mission aims to send a craft to the Moon, collect samples, and bring them back to Earth. Eventually, when India is ready for human spaceflight, Indian astronauts will be sent on a Chandrayaan craft to the Moon to conduct experiments and return safely,” he added.

The interaction lasted for an hour and Somanath signed off with a promise that he would be meeting again in May. The first #asksomnathisro was held on March 2. The event is an attempt to connect with the younger generation.

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