Bangalore: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to build a new class of powerful communication satellites that packs more capacity and new technologies, its Chairman K Radhakrishnan said in Bangalore on Wednesday.
This kind of spacecraft would handle larger amount of power and accommodate more number of transponders in the same satellite, he said, adding ISRO planned to incorporate new technologies in them and get into higher bands.
"Today, we are at Ku band. We want to get into Ka band and even higher band. This is one of the priorities (in the coming five-year plan (which starts in April next year)", Radhakrishnan, who is also Chairman of Space Commission and Secretary in the Department of Space, said.
"In remote sensing (satellite field), we have to get into environmental studies and climate change studies. This is one requirement, new requirement (in the next five-year plan)," he said.
He said the Bangalore-headquartered ISRO would launch its first navigation satellite next year, under its Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) programme which would be followed by six more such spacecraft. "So, these will have live coverage over Indian region," Radhakrishnan said.
ISRO's GSLV today can carry satellites weighing 2.2 tons into space. Radhakrishnan said GSLV-Mk III (which can lift four tonne spacecraft) is going to be one of the "major targets" in the coming five-year plan.
Radhakrishnan emphasised that the first and foremost priority of the ISRO was flying indigenous cryogenic engine and stage.
"That's (cryogenic technology) the future for ISRO because future launch vehicles will require cryogenic engine and stage," he said.
ISRO's earlier attempt in April 2010 to flight test the home grown cryogenic engine and stage, a complex technology, had ended in failure when the launch vehicle veered off its path and plunged into the Bay of Bengal along with GSAT-4 satellite.
Radhakrishnan also said ISRO was now going to make a "very major inroad" in science, and referred to Astrosat, a multi wave-length observatory in space, which it plans to launch in the next financial year.
He stressed the need to build "sufficient number of scientific talent" to utilise the space-based data generated by ISRO's satellites.
"Space exploration not only gives you excitement, it drives the technology downstream," he observed.