By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh): India has a satellite launch order book of around Rs 280 crore for third parties. The country is also in discussions with others for contract manufacturing of meteorological satellites, said top Indian space officials here on Monday.
The officials spoke to the media here after the successful launch of eight satellites-three Indian and five foreign-with an Indian rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
“Our order book size for launching foreign satellites stands at around Rs 280 crore. This will take us around two/three years to exhaust,” said of Antrix Corporation’s Chairman-cum-Managing Director S. Rakesh.
Rakesh said discussions are on with several parties for orders worth a similar amount.
The Antrix Corporation is the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
According to Rakesh, the company closed last fiscal with a turnover of Rs 1,923 crore crore and is expected to close the current fiscal with a revenue of around Rs 2,000 crore. He said the company is looking at consolidating the performance and achievements of ISRO.
On making satellites for others, ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said: “Our meteorological satellites have excellent capabilities which, barring the US, others do not have.” He said India is in discussions for making meteorological satellites for others.
According to Kumar, ISRO will look at the possibilities of contract manufacturing satellites for others along with Indian industry as it has to cater to the country’s needs first.
He said there are opportunities and converting them into actual orders depends on various factors.
Queried about ISRO’s plans to make six-tonne satellites, Kumar said the focus now is to get the same output from four-tonne satellites instead of going for a six-tonner.
The move will save sizeable sums for India as it pays to launch heavier satellites through the European space agency’s rocket Ariane.
Asked about the launch of Saarc satellite, Kumar said the satellite is being readied, adding that while Pakistan has said it is not interested in the India-built Saarc satellite, discussions are on with Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
India on Monday morning successfully put into orbit its own weather satellite SCATSAT-1 and seven others — five foreign: three from Algeria (Alsat-1B 103 kg, Alsat-2B 117 kg, Alsat-1N 7 kg), and one each from Canada (NLS-19, 8 kg) and the US (Pathfinder, 44 kg); and two Indian: Pratham (10 kg) built by Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) and Pisat (5.25 kg) from PES University, Bengaluru, and its consortium.
With this, India successfully completed yet another multiple-satellite launch in a single rocket mission and is marching towards the milestone of 100 foreign satellite launches.
Till date, India has successfully launched 79 satellites for international customers. Interestingly, this was also PSLV’s longest launch spread over two hours and 15 minutes.
The Indian space agency ISRO also put into commercial use its multiple-burn technology in its rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Simply put, multiple-burn technology is the switching off and switching on of a rocket’s engine in space mainly to deliver satellites in two different orbits.