India plans to conduct trials of an experimental reusable launch vehicle, being developed at the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), sometime in 2016, Isro chairman AS Kiran Kumar said on Monday.
He said the project was still in the experimental stage and the demonstration vehicle, which will use a single-stage rocket to start with, will have a range of 100 km.
He was delivering a lecture as part of the golden jubilee celebration organised by JSS Mahavidyapeetha in Mysuru on Monday.
The single-stage rocket will have a solid propellant stored in casing. For a reusable vehicle, the casings have to be re-used or rebuilt and its evolution will hinge on cost benefits, the Isro chairman said.
''Isro will complete the design in 2016. The aim is to bring back the vehicle from the orbit and test if this process is economically viable. The objective is to access space with best minimum cost possible,'' he added.
Eventually, he said, these will be like a space shuttle and will have multi-stage capabilities for satellite launch. This will help reduce the cost of access to space in the long run, he said.
''We still have a long way to go and have taken baby steps in this direction,'' said Kumar.
He was delivering the golden jubilee endowment lecture of the JSS Mahavidyapeetha on 'Space technology and societal applications'.
For the first time, Isro has planned to launch 'geo-stationary imaging satellite' (GISAT) to observe and study the land, ocean and atmosphere at higher resolutions with appropriate wavelength selection, he said.
Isro?is also working on 'geo tagging of post offices' across the state. The facilties available in as many as 1.5 lakh post offices across Karnataka will be mapped under the project for the benefit of people, he said.
In another initiative, Isro is developing a 'space-based information support' to educate gram panchayat members on various schemes available for the development of villages. As part of the project, the Panchayat Raj department will impart training to GP?members in 7,000 blocks spread across the country.
To address the need of 'tele-education' he said, Isro has developed 'EDUSAT' - exclusively for educational services, which cater to a wide range of interactive educational delivery modes such as one-way TV broadcast, video conferencing, etc.
The chairman also highlighted various communication satellites developed to address issues during natural calamities, medical services, farmers issues among other issues.