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Isro gears up for a full fledged commercial launch on September 16

TE Narasimhan/ 13 Sep 18 | 11:42 AM

Isro will be launching PSLV-C42 mission in its core alone configuration

After a gap of five months, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will start a full-fledged commercial launch on September 16.

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Isro will be launching PSLV-C42 mission in its core alone configuration. PSLV-C42 mission is scheduled to launch two international customer satellites of Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), United Kingdom.

In 2009, Airbus bought a majority shareholding from the University of Surrey, allowing SSTL to fulfil its growth potential.  SSTL is an independent company within Airbus.

Antrix Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of the Isro, has been contracted by SSTL for launching their two satellites, namely, NovaSAR and  S1-4.

Two satellites will weigh nearly 889 kg. 

The PSLV-C42 mission is scheduled on September 16, 2018 from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. Both the satellites are planned to be launched by PSLV-C42 into a 583 kms Sun Synchronous Orbit.

NovaSAR with S-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is a small satellite intended for forest mapping, land use and ice cover monitoring, flood and disaster monitoring, ship detection and maritime monitoring.

S1-4 is a high-resolution Optical Earth Observation Satellite which will be used for surveying resources, environment monitoring, urban management and disaster monitoring.

Recently, Rakesh Sashibhusan, Antrix Chairman and Managing Director, told Business Standard that the percentage share of Indian commercial offerings is very low compared to the total business volume in the sector across the world, which is at around $357 billion.

"This is a huge market and if you are able to position a particular launch vehicle with appropriate pricing in the market, you can definitely capture a percentage share of it," he said.

Antrix is eyeing at least 10 per cent of the space-launching market. With the kind of capacities that Isro is planning, it will be able to generate Rs 15-20 billion from the small satellite launch services alone soon, Sashibhusan said.

Currently, India has 7.2 per cent in global satellite market which is estimated at Rs 8,500 billion. In the $357 billion launch services market, its share is one per cent. Till now, Isro has launched 237 foreign satellites of 28 countries.

Additionally, Isro is also planning big launches including PSLVs. Isro is actively pursuing the industry for production and to scale up the review.

On April 23, 2007, the space agency had launched a rocket solely for the commercial purpose for the first time.  It's PSLV-CA carried Italy's astronomical satellite AGILE as the main payload. On July 10, 2015, Isro achieved another milestone when it successfully carried out the heaviest commercial mission. PSLV-XL was lifted off with five UK satellites weighing 1,439 kg from Isro. 

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