ISRO’s mission ‘Shukrayaan I’ reportedly shifted to 2031

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The Satish Dhawan Professor and advisor to the space science programme at Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), P. Sreekumar, has stated that the organisation has not yet received approval from the Indian government for the Venus mission, which might delay the mission until 2031, since the organisation has not yet received approval from the Indian government.

During December of 2024, Shukrayaan I, the first Venus mission of ISRO, was scheduled for launch. After a 23% increase in the budget for 2017-2018, ISRO started preliminary investigations into the concept that was conceived in 2012 after the Department of Space got a 23% increase in the 2017-2018 budget. It was announced in April 2017 that the organisation was seeking proposals from research institutions for payload proposals.

During the budget year 2022-2023, ISRO was allocated 13,700 crores, which was a slight increase from the previous year, and Gaganyaan, the human spaceflight mission, was given the majority of the allocation. As a result of recent reforms in the private spaceflight sector, which include an increase in local manufacturing and procurement, a number of industry groups have developed a wish list in response to the upcoming budget announcement.

The VERITAS and EnVision missions of the American and European space agencies, respectively, both have Venus missions scheduled for 2031, but “China might go anytime: 2026, 2027, whenever they want to go.” The pandemic was mentioned by ISRO as the reason for delaying Shukrayaan I’s launch from mid-2023 to December 2024. Delays in manufacturing and obligations to commercial launch services have also had an impact on other ISRO projects, such as Aditya L1 and Chandrayaan III.

The best time to launch from Earth to Venus is once every 19 months or thereabouts. In case it misses the 2024 window, ISRO has “backup” launch dates in 2026 and 2028. But every eight years, new better windows present themselves that further cut down on the quantity of fuel needed for takeoff.

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