Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s PSLV C38, carrying earth observation satellite Cartosat-2 Series and 30 co-passenger satellites of various countries, lifts off from Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota on June 23, 2017. (PTI
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s PSLV C38, carrying earth observation satellite Cartosat-2 Series and 30 co-passenger satellites of various countries, lifts off from Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota on June 23, 2017. (PTI

ISRO earned 6.1 million euros for 29 foreign nano satellites launched on June 23

On June 23, ISRO launched 29 foreign nano satellites, along with the Cartosat 2, which brought 6.1 million euros in earnings for its commercial arm, Antrix.
UPDATED ON JUL 19, 2017 01:53 PM IST

Antrix Corporation Limited (ACL), the commercial and marketing arm of ISRO, earned 6.1 million euros (about R. 45.2 crore) from the launch of 29 foreign nano satellites, that were put in orbit along with the Cartosat 2, on June 23.

The information was shared by the Prime Minister’s Office in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

The 29 nanosatellites came from 14 foreign countries. Over the years India’s space agency has become a favourite for foreign companies and governments seeking cost-effective launches. Till date, ISRO has launched over 200 foreign satellites, including 101 nanosatellites in its historic launch in February, where 104 satellites were launched into orbit in a single mission.

The agency did not reveal how much it earned from that record-breaking launch, but ISRO did hope to recoup half of the mission’s cost from payments for these foreign launches. Of the 101 nano satellites, the largest number (96) were from the US and 88 from only one company called Planet.

The US has become ISRO’s biggest client in recent years, though its first payload from the country was carried by an ISRO launch vehicle only in 2015. The largest number of nanosatellites in the June 23 launch were also from the US.

In 2016 alone, ISRO launched 22 satellites for other countries, more than double the number of Indian satellites launched that year (10). However, it must be noted that foreign satellites are mostly co-passenger satellites and not the main payload. The launch services are offered because the same launch vehicle can carry more payload, and is a more cost effective option.

Antrix earned R. 230 crore from its commercial launch services in 2015-16, capturing 0.6 % of the global launch services market, which is estimated to be worth R. 37,000 crore.

The agency is aggressively pushing its commercial launch operations even as it ramps up its launch program aiming for 12 launches every year, from the present 7.

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