Take my taxi to the moonBy vijaysree venkatraman | February 21st, 2013 | Category: Interviews, New Scientist |
Susmita Mohanty, the founder of India’s first private space company, Earth2Orbit, wants India to claim bigger piece of the space-launch pie.She is CEO of Earth2Orbit, which recently launched its first client satellite.
An aerospace entrepreneur and spaceship designer, she has worked at NASA and Boeing, and holds a PhD in aerospace architecture
How active is India’s space programme?
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which was founded in 1969, launches rockets, builds and uses satellites extensively for earthly applications and has recently started planetary exploration. It tested its first astronaut capsule for atmospheric re-entry in 2007, and is planning to build a residential astronaut training facility. ISRO is also planning a lunar lander mission for 2014 and will launch a mission to Mars this year.
How does your company, Earth2Orbit, fit in with this programme?
We want to commercialise India’s space capabilities, in particular the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. It is one of the world’s most reliable in its class. I want to make it the rocket of choice for international satellite-makers looking to get to low Earth or sun-synchronous orbits. India could build and launch up to six each year, but currently launches only two. We need to step up to full throttle. The same goes for satellites and ground equipment. Over the next decade or two, I think India should be aiming for at least a quarter of the multibillion-dollar global space market, if not more.