India’s space agency on Sept. 1 announced plans to build a new class of powerful communication satellites.

K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), says the new spacecraft will feature an upgraded power system to accommodate more transponders.

“ISRO has plans to integrate new technologies in them and get into higher bands,” Radhakrishnan says.

ISRO is aiming to introduce these technologies during the next five-year plan (2012-17) that starts next April.

“In remote sensing, we have to get into environmental studies and climate-change studies. This is a new requirement in the next five-year plan,” he says.

ISRO, which is based in Bengaluru, expects to launch its first navigation satellite next year, under its Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System program. It would be followed by six more such spacecraft.

Last month, India’s GSAT-12 communication satellite was placed in geosynchronous orbit. ISRO has launched 64 satellites so far: 38 national satellites and 26 international. Of these, there were seven failed launches, according to official figures.