Indian space launch vehicle need private collaboration

  • 26th November, 2022

(MainsGS3:Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.)


  • On 21 October 2022, 36 OneWeb satellites were launched from aboard the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III (GSLV Mk III), dedicated to the provision of broadband internet services. 

Required improvement:

  • The ISRO has approached the development of the GSLV, especially its cryogenic upper stage, with incremental improvements in its payload launch capabilities. 
  • The launch vehicle is still in its infancy despite years of investment; and its capacity to carry and inject heavier payloads into high earth orbit with consistent success is still a distant goal. 
  • One may discount the urgency for developing a GSLV capability, when the French-built Arianne heavy-lift rockets to launch the Indian space agency’s larger satellite payloads have served India’s needs well. 
  • However, relying on the French heavy space launch vehicle cannot be the outcome in the long term for either India’s defence, civilian and commercial needs, nor does it serve the aspirations of India’s premier space agency, which has future unmanned and manned missions to the moon as well as deep space missions.

Developing an independent GSLV capability:

  • Successfully launching heavy payloads into high earth orbits, that run into several tonnes, has military benefits as the latest example is SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket.
  • Further, the Chinese Long March series is a visible demonstration and example of the Chinese progressing more rapidly than India in the development of a geosynchronous launch vehicle. 
  • The People's Republic of China (PRC) took roughly 14 years since its first satellite launch in 1970 to launch its first geostationary satellite in April 1984, and, since then, has launched multiple heavy satellites into GTO. 
  • Thus,  the time to develop an independent GSLV capability has been far too protracted.

 Increase collaboration:

  • The possession of an independent geosynchronous launch capability that can reliably launch national security or defence satellites brings flexibility and speed to despatch large payloads when needed. 
  • Private enterprises in the space sector should have a key role to play in augmenting the capacities of Indian space launch vehicle technology. 
  • We need to increase collaboration with the private sector in priority areas, especially with the commercial space industry, leveraging its technological advancements and entrepreneurial spirit to enable new capabilities.


  • Beyond the national security and defence imperative, ISRO’s lunar and Mars missions as well as long-term deep space missions will need powerful rockets making their development all the more urgent.

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