Indian space agency continues its successful run, this week it placed in orbit an Israeli spy satellite launched under a commercial contract.
This has propelled the Indian Space Research Organization or ISRO into the big league and its now well poised to enter the US$ 15 billion a year global launch market, Indian satellite images are already popular.
The commercial arm of ISRO the Antrix Corporation has meanwhile been doing brisk business with its total turnover for the last fiscal rising to Rupees 664 crores. ISRO is all set to rake in the money while travelling to Moon, Mars and Beyond.
The twenty fifth launch of a rocket from the Indian space port, a significant milestone in more ways than one.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or the PSLV placed an Israeli spy satellite TecSAR in orbit on Monday.
This is ISRO’s second fully commercial launch and even though they are not saying how much Israel paid them. Sources said that it is higher than the market rate of 20,000 dollar or 8 lakh rupees per kg. The TecSAR weighs about 300 kg.
For its first commercial launch., the 352 kg Italian satellite Agile. ISRO had charged 11 million dollars or 44 crore rupees. That too was well above the market rate.
PSLV is popular because its considered reliable and the launch site is close to the equator giving the necessary edge.
”People have realized that the PSLV is a real workhorse based on its reliability and cost effectiveness,” said Dr G Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO.
Now, the Indian space agency gets 75 per cent of its business from foreign clients.
ISRO’s commercial arm, Antrix Corporation has increased its turnover by 50 per cent this fiscal, earning almost 664 crore rupees.
ISRO has contracts for launching four small satellites for Singapore, Netherlands, Canada and Germany.
And the agency has also won a contract for making two large communications satellites for European customers.
It is not just ISRO’s hardware that is in demand, but the images taken by Indian Remote sensing satellites are much in demand in the international market.
The international experts are all praise for ISRO.
”Indian Space Organisation is good, and more important than the facilities it is the quality of the engineers and scientists and the technicians. They have a great capability,” said Dr Michael Griffin, Administrator, NASA, USA to NDTV.
On being asked that whether India is ready to go moon and beyond, he replied, ”Absolutely. India has the technical capability and will soon prove it to send an unmanned scientific spacecraft to the moon.”
”And frankly India has the intrinsic capability to, within quite a few years to be conducting human space flights if they wish to do so,” he added.
India is today a force to reckon with among the comity of space faring nations, with 11 communications satellites in orbit, the largest domestic constellation in all of Asia Pacific and with seven remote sensing satellites in space India today can map at resolution less then a meter. ISRO can now truly dream big.