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PSLV-C42 launch begins ISRO’s new mission

Antrix, ISRO’s commercial arm, is eyeing 10% of the $357 billion global market.
T E Narasimhan reports.

The countdown for the launch of PSLV-C42 started on Saturday, September 15, at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.

The full-fledged commercial launch, for an independent company within the Airbus group, is scheduled for Sunday night.

The rocket will carry two foreign satellites, NovaSAR and S1-4, which are set to be launched into a 583-km Sun synchronous orbit tonight at 10.08 pm.

The two customer satellites, owned by the Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, SSTL, United Kingdom, together weigh nearly 889 kg.

Antrix Corporation Limited, ISRO’s commercial arm, has been contracted by SSTL for launching its satellites.

In 2009, Airbus bought a majority shareholding from the University of Surrey. SSTL is an independent company within Airbus.

Antrix Chairman and Managing Director Rakesh Sashibhusan says 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 says.

Antrix is eyeing at least 10 per cent of this market.

With the kind of capacities that ISRO is planning, it should be able generate Rs 15 billiopn to Rs 20 billion from the small satellite launch services alone, says the Antrix CMD.

India’s position in the global Rs 8.5 trillion satellite market is around 7.2 per cent.

In the Rs 357 billion launch services market its share is 1 per cent.

ISRO has launched 237 satellites for 28 countries.

“ISRO’s big launch vehicles, when they go into production mode — including the PSLV which ISRO is actively pursuing the industry for production — and the launch revenue will go up. We can increase our market share,” the Antrix CMD adds.

On April 23, 2007, the space agency had for the first time launched a rocket solely for commercial purposes. Its PSLV-CA carried Italy’s astronomical satellite AGILE as the main payload.

Thereafter, on July 10, 2015, ISRO achieved another milestone when it conducted the heaviest commercial mission successfully as its PSLV-XL lifted off with 5 British satellites together weighing 1,439 kg.

Source: Rediff