India could be following in the footsteps of SpaceX and Blue Origin, as it readies for the trial of its reusable launch vehicle for space travel in 2016.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman AS Kiran Kumar, speaking at the golden jubilee endowment lecture of the JSS Mahavidyapeetha on "Space technology and societal applications", has said India's reusable launch vehicle is scheduled for trials in 2016, and would help reduce space travel costs in the long run.
Currently, India uses multi-stage rockets for launching satellites. However, the reusable launch vehicle is going to have a single-stage launch, and will be able to propel to 100 km during the demonstration.
The solid propellant will be in an enclosed casing. Cost benefit would ensure if the casing would be rebuilt or reused.
ISRO launched 17 foreign satellites and three Indian satellites this year, reported IANS.
The state-run space agency also partnered with civil aviation authorities to develop a Geo-Augmented Navigation System under the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (INRSS) to map and navigation of civilian aircraft.
Currently, aircraft are tracked through land-based radars. However, the shift to satellite-based tracking had been proposed following the multiple aircraft crashes in 2014 like that of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. This technology will enable real-time tracking of aircraft.
INRSS will be facilitated through a constellation of seven satellites, and be able to track aircraft 1,500 km outside Indian territory.
"Other countries, too, have embarked on such a mission, and at present, four satellites are in orbit and the full constellation will be in place in 2016," said Kumar.
He also said the project to create a digital archive of locations of all Indian post offices would be completed by 2016.
India has 1.5 lakh post-offices, and the app that is being developed to geo-tag them will tell users his or her position and current distance from the nearest post office, reported The Hindu.