ISRO will look to make launch prices ten times cheaper and create reusable rockets
ISRO Chairman S. Somanath has said that ISRO needs to work on a reusable rocket following the completion of GSLV Mark-III launch vehicles missions. Speaking at the Bangalore Space Expo, he said, "All of us want launches to be much cheaper than what we do today."
As of now, ISRO charges between $10,000 to $15,000 per kilogram of payload that is launched into space, according to a report from Business Insider. Somanath wants to bring down this price to $5,000 and will look to make it cheaper to even $1000 in the future. A payload refers to a particular part of a rocket that is launches into space. It can range from small cube satellites that fit in a palm, to entire astronaut missions.
For now, the space agency's priority is on finalising the GSLV Mark-III rocket, which will be used to launch India's first astronauts into space by next year if everything remains on schedule. It is looking into reusable rockets as an alternative to reduce costs, since the current models being used burn up on return into Earth's atmosphere, and require to be built from scratch.
"It's a big shift from what we do today. I would like to see this take shape in the next few months. We would like to see such a rocket, a rocket which will be competitive enough, a rocket that will be cost-conscious, production-friendly, which will be built in India but operated globally for the services of the space sector," said Somanath.
He also said that he believes that current launch vehicles can be retired within an "appropriate time" if ISRO is successful in building this technology.