Indian Space Budget Slated To Rise by 6.5 Percent

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BANGALORE, India — India’s Department of Space will receive 72 billion rupees ($1.2 billion) for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, a sum that includes funding to procure a large communications satellite from a foreign company, according to budget documents unveiled July 10. 

India’s financial year begins April 1, but the newly elected government only came to power in May. The allocation represents a 6.5 percent increase from the previous year, Deviprasad Karnik, a spokesman for the Indian Space Research Organisation, said.  

According to the budget documents, launch vehicles command the largest share of the budget, at 26 billion rupees. The total includes 1.8 billion rupees for development of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark 3, which will be capable of launching satellites weighing 4 metric tons, and 3.9 billion rupees for the current Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, ISRO budget documents show. Another 1.5 billion rupees is provided for work on a new engine fueled by liquid oxygen and kerosene. 

ISRO’s satellite budget is 10 billion rupees, a figure that includes 1.64 billion rupees to develop an advanced communications satellite dubbed Gsat-11, as well as funds for work on several remote sensing craft, the budget documents show. According to the budget documents, ISRO will procure “a heavier class of communication satellite from a foreign agency to meet the growing demand for communication.”

The budget allocates 1.2 billion rupees for the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, a constellation of seven satellites design to provide GPS-like position-location information throughout the geographic region including India and 1,500 kilometers beyond its borders.