The Indian Space Research Organisation plans to launch Astrosat, an astronomical satellite, in 2015, chairman K Radhakrishnan said in Mangalore, on Monday.
The satellite would be launched aboard a PSLV rocket, and would carry equipment built by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, he said.
He was addressing the 32nd convocation of Mangalore University on the Mangalagangotri campus.
Radhakrishnan said India had satellites for studying weather, environment and water security and to help in communication.
RISAT I, the first all-weather, radar-imaging satellite built indigenously and which was launched two years ago, opened up access to the microwave remote sensing system. It could, for instance see through cloud cover for the assessment of flooding and its radar was capable of working in the dark.
It was being used to monitor kharif crops such as paddy and jute.
''…We are moving towards enhanced launch capability through the GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle and even higher powered vehicles in the years to come. We have set ourselves uphill challenges that promise an active, fulfilling and technologically gratifying future for the Indian space programme ...''
Speaking to the press Radhakrishnan said ISRO's entry into social media aimed at taking science to the younger generation, especially space programmes. He added it was expected to help draw young people, particularly those aged 18-34, to science.
Delivering the convocation address, Radhakrishnan said, ''Universities must contribute to the development of new technology. The launch vehicle programme and the satellite have been contributing tirelessly for achieving technological capabilities that are essential for the nation. The space-based assets - a constellation of 24 satellites around Mother Earth - have enabled applications focused towards food and water security, weather and climate, environment and ecosystem, education and health care, skill development, rural communication, infrastructure development, disaster management support, smart governance, and sustainable development.''
He added, ''The Indian Remote Sensing Satellite System has always ensured the information backbone that is essential for the management of natural resources. In the recent past, we have enhanced our capability in the launch of RISAT-1 satellite which opened up our access to microwave remote sensing, SARAL which provides ocean surface topography, and facilitates application in marine and sea state forecasting are some of them.''
Speaking about the efforts and achievements of ISRO, Radhakrishnan said, ''In November last year, our Mars Orbiter spacecraft embarked upon a long journey towards Mars, making it the first 'Made in India' object to leave the Earth's sphere of influence.
"It is on course for its arrival near Mars on September 24, 2014, after a voyage of nearly 68 crore kilometres. We are moving towards enhanced launch capability through our GSLC Mk-III launch vehicle and even higher-powered vehicles in the years to come. We have set uphill challenges before us that promise an active, fulfilling, and technologically gratifying future for the Indian space programme.''