ISRO to launch three more commercial satellites


Bangalore : Antrix Corporation Ltd, the marketing arm of Indian space agency ISRO, will soon sign new contracts to launch three more overseas commercial satellites in the next two years, a top official said here Friday.

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"We are in discussion with some European and Asian countries. The contracts are very much in the final stage. We are hoping they (contracts) will be converted soon," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman G. Madhavan Nair told reporters.

The payloads (satellites), ranging between 200-500 kg, will be launched into the polar orbit using the polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) from the space agency's Satish Dhawan space centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 90 km from Chennai.

"The proposed satellites will be launched in the next two years from the Shar (Sriharikota) launch pad. We have already demonstrated our capability in April with the successful launch of the Italian satellite Agile, which was our first overseas commercial payload," Nair said on the sidelines of a media workshop.

Nair hinted that one of the satellites would be from Indonesia.

ISRO is also in talks with the European communication satellite consortium to launch its W2M satellite in the geo-stationary orbit using the geo-synchronous launch vehicle (GSLV).

"We have started dialogue with the consortium to launch the W2M satellite, which we are building for them. The satellite is intended to be used for communications by civilian and commercial players," Nair disclosed.

The space agency is also gearing up to launch an advanced version of the ocean satellite (Oceansat-2) to replace Oceansat-1 that is in operation but coming to an end.

"The Oceansat-2 will be more powerful. It will have a scatterometer to look at the winds from the surface of the ocean. It is scheduled for launch next year," Nair pointed out.

As part of its dedicated satellite launch programme, ISRO will have an orbital astronomical laboratory – Astrosat to study the universe, galaxies, black holes and supernova in a holistic manner analytically.

"The Astrosat, weighing about 600 kg, will be an observation system in space with a simultaneous capability in the visible, UV (ultraviolet), X-ray and gamma-ray bands. It can be turned into any part of the sky," the ISRO chief added.