Science

ISRO Vs. SpaceX: How Does PSLV Launch Make A Difference?

By Rodney Rafols , Feb 16, 2017 03:23 AM EST
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CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - APRIL 8: In this handout provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket stands after making its first successful upright landing on the 'Of Course I Still Love You' droneship on April 8, 2016 some 200 miles off shore in the Atlantic Ocean after launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Photo : NASA/Getty Images)

The space race is becoming more fierce as other countries join it. Decades after Russia and the US have started their space programs, new countries are now also starting their own. Not only countries, but even private enterprises have joined in as well. The ISRO vs. SpaceX would be a good match-up. How does the PSLV launch make a difference?

India's ISRO has the PSLV as a low cost way of launching rockets. The polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) has been popular since it has a 100 percent success rate so far. ISRO is charging just 60 percent of the rates that other space programs apply.

However, SpaceX might prove to be the challenge to this. SpaceX has developed a reusable booster for the Falcon 9. The booster can be landed back to predetermined sites and then retrieved and transported back so that it can be used again. Costs could then be reduced since new boosters don't have to be made for each launch.

SpaceX though is still not fully using the reusable boosters commercially. Professor Roddam Narasimha has said that the PSLV might still be the choice for some years while SpaceX is perfecting the technology for reusable boosters. Eventually though SpaceX will be able to offer this to more companies, which can reduce costs.

Professor Narasimha has also noted that while the PSLV might have been ahead, ISRO has not fully taken advantage of this, according to Your Story. ISRO though might have more success with the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV). The RLV is essentially like NASA's space shuttle.

The RLV though would still be like the space shuttle in many ways, since its boosters would still be discarded with each launch. India so far has launched 21 satellites for 21 countries, as CNN reports. The RLV might be a low cost alternative, if reusable boosters could be incorporated with it.

The bottomline of the space race programs is cost reduction. Companies are looking for the most cost effective way of launching their satellites into space. This can be seen in the ISRO vs. SpaceX, as people ask: how does the PSLV launch make a difference? NASA is also developing a Venus rover.

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