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After Astrosat success, India set to launch 23 foreign satellites
by Staff Writers
Sriharikota, India (IANS) Oct 01, 2015

File image.

India has signed up contracts to launch 23 foreign satellites soon, an official of Antrix Corporation said on Monday. Antrix Corporation is the commercial arm of Indian space agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

"Out of 23 foreign satellites, two will go in two separate rockets. The remaining 21 satellites will piggy-back on bigger Indian satellite," the official told IANS. He said ISRO would soon be launching six Singapore satellites weighing a total of around 660 kg.

According to him, the bigger of the six is an earth observation satellite, weighing 410 kg. Two are micro-satellites, weighing 130 kg and 80 kg respectively. The remaining three are nano-satellites, cumulatively weighing 30 kg.

According to the Antrix Corporation official, ISRO will also be launching five small satellites from the US before 2016 as a piggy-back luggage. Antrix Corporation had signed with US parties to launch nine small satellites, of which four were launched on Monday as a piggy-back luggage with Astrosat, India's first space observatory.

Till date India has launched 51 foreign satellites for a fee. Addressing the media, ISRO chairman AS Kiran Kumar said things are changing with the US. "We are having more and more interaction with the US," Kumar added.

Speaking about forthcoming rocket launches, he said the next polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) rocket launch will be fully commercial. He said India would be launching communication satellite GSAT-15 using Ariane rocket, a European heavy-lift launch vehicle, this November and two navigation satellites from Sriharikota.

According to Kumar, all the seven navigation satellites, part of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), would be in place in 2016. Queried about the status of SAARC satellite announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ISRO chairman said Sri Lanka has given its consent to the configuration.

"It will be a two-tonne satellite with 12 transponders. Each SARRC nation will be given one transponder configured to give the data they need. The satellite will be launched by the end of 2016," Kumar said. On the data sent by India's one-year-old Mars Orbiter, Mangalayan, and the result of the research done on them, the ISRO chief said the data would be shared with interested researchers.

According to him, the Mars Orbiter takes four pictures every two-and-half days and sends them back to ISRO. On the issue of sourcing fully assembled rocket components by ISRO, Kumar said work has started and it would take around four-and-half years to achieve that.

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