Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has signed six agreements with four countries for launching foreign satellites during 2021-23. Its commercial arm New Space India Ltd inked the pacts for launching the satellites by India’s mainstay rocket PSLV, Union space minister Jitendra Singh said, Trend reports citing The Times of India.
In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, Singh also informed that about 132 million euros will be earned through launches of these foreign satellites on a commercial basis.
In another written reply, the minister said that from 1999 to till date, a total of 342 foreign satellites belonging to 34 countries have been successfully launched on board PSLV on a commercial basis. He said that through launches of these foreign satellites, India has earned a foreign exchange revenue of approx $35 million and 10 million euros during the last three years (2019 to 2021). The types of foreign satellites that were launched include satellites primarily for earth observation, scientific and technology demonstration purposes.
A total number of 124 indigenous satellites, including 12 student satellites, have also been put into Earth’s orbit.
In another written reply to the Upper House, Singh said the development of the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV or mini-PSLV) is in the final stages and the first developmental flight of SSLV is targeted during the first quarter of 2022. The SSLV will provide a payload capability of 500kg and can launch satellite(s) up to an orbit of 500 km altitude. He said the government has sanctioned a total cost of Rs 169 crore for the project, including the development and qualification of vehicle systems and flight demonstration through three development flights (SSLV-D1, SSLV-D2 and SSLV-D3).
A day earlier, he informed the Lok Sabha that a total number of 27 satellite missions and 25 launch vehicle missions have been successfully accomplished during the last five years.
Singh said of these launches, some of the major missions include the first operational flight of the country’s heavy-lift launch vehicle GSLV Mk-III, which placed India’s second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 lunar probe into orbit; an advanced cartography satellite, Cartosat-3; completion of NavIC constellation (with the launch of a navigation satellite); launch of the South Asia Satellite (which is providing broadcasting and weather forecast among other services to Saarc countries for free); launch of heaviest and most-advanced high throughput communication satellite Gsat-11 and launch of a record 104 satellites by a single PSLV flight.
Apart from these launches, three technology demonstrators namely Scramjet engine, the reusable launch vehicle and a test for the crew escape system were also successfully demonstrated during this period, the minister said.