The new colonial movement: During a NASA planetary science conference on November 10th, an official of India’s space agency ISRO revealed that they have been forced to delay their first mission to Venus, dubbed Shukrayaan, till 2024.
T. Maria Antonita of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) detailed the status of the mission to scientists drafting a new 10-year plan for NASA’s planetary science program. Shukrayaan will be India’s first mission to Venus and will study the planet for more than four years.
ISRO was aiming for a mid-2023 launch when it released its call for instruments in 2018, but Antonita told members of the National Academies’ decadal survey planning committee last week that pandemic-related delays have pushed Shukrayaan’s target launch date to December 2024 with a mid-2026 backup date (optimal launch windows for reaching Venus occur roughly 19 months apart).
It appears they are using this extra time to consider a larger launch rocket, which would allow them to increase the orbiter’s capabilities.