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New countries line up to India for satellite launches

While the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has put the country in global limelight because of its low-cost mission to Mars, its commercial wing, Antrix, has started witnessing a robust growth with more countries approaching it with offers to launch their satellites.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2015 23:30 IST
Vanita Srivastava
With-new-offers-in-hand-Isro-s-commercial-wing-Antrix-is-all-set-to-become-a-major-player-in-providing-satellite-launch-services-to-its-international-customers
With-new-offers-in-hand-Isro-s-commercial-wing-Antrix-is-all-set-to-become-a-major-player-in-providing-satellite-launch-services-to-its-international-customers

While the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has put the country in global limelight because of its low-cost mission to Mars, its commercial wing, Antrix, has started witnessing a robust growth with more countries approaching it with offers to launch their satellites.

One such proposal of commercial satellite launch is due for June this year in which three DMC-3 earth observation satellites along with one micro and one nano satellite built by UK's Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) will be launched into space.

The mission is designated as PSLV- C28/ DMC-3 which has been taken under a commercial agreement between Antrix Corporation Limited and DMC International Imaging (DMCII), a wholly-owned subsidiary of SSTL.

Noteworthy, Antrix entered into a launch services agreement with a company from US in 2014 for launching their earth observation micro satellite.

This is the first time when Antrix will be launching a US-built satellite on-board PSLV.

Recently, Antrix also entered into a launch services agreement with another company from US for launching seven nano satellites of US on-board PSLV.

The first commercial launch of Antrix was in May 1999 when it placed two micro-satellites of Germany and Republic of Korea into space following which several new countries have lined up to avail the facility with latest entrants being France, Austria and UK.

There is also a plan to launch a US satellite in 2016.

According to sources, Antrix is also exploring the possibility to offer GSLV launch services to the international customers.

It is also exploring the options of providing Isro-built satellite bus and satellite sub-systems to other contries.

As on date, Antrix has successfully launched 40 satellites for its international customers from 19 countries. It has signed commercial agreements to launch 29 more satellites.

"Undoubtedly the main reason why international customers are seeking PSLV launch services from Antrix is the excellent track record it has maintained over the years. The versatility of the PSLV launcher to undertake various types of missions makes it an ideal candidate in this field," official sources said.