Bangalore: The Indian Space Research Organisation, or Isro, will launch four foreign satellites this year as it seeks to make further inroads into the international satellite-building and launch services market in 2009.
Two weeks ago, communication satellite, W2M, built by Isro on a commercial basis in partnership with EADS-Astrium of Europe, was successfully launched by the European Ariane-5 launch vehicle from the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou in French Guiana.
Managing Director of Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of Bangalore-headquartered Isro, K.R. Sridhara Murthy, said the Indian space agency is gearing up to launch four satellites of Singapore, the Netherlands, Italy and Algeria. These contracts were bagged by Isro independently and not in partnership with EADS-Astrium.
“We have four commitments for Singapore, the Netherlands, Italy and Algeria. We want to complete it in 2009,” he told PTI. “It (the four spacecraft) is a mix of nano and small satellites”.
Contractual obligations bar Isro from talking about specific launch price but Sridhara Murthy said the space agency’s charge per kg of satellite (to be launched) is around €20,000 per kg, quite cheaper than prevailing international prices.
But, Murthy stressed that the launch price is guided by competition, market conditions and demand-supply scenario.
Once GSLV-Mk III rocket is operational, Isro’s ability to address launch services market enhances considerably, Sridhara Murthy said.
An Isro official said GSLV-Mk III is envisaged to launch four tonne satellites into geosynchronous transfer orbit. Its first development flight is expected in 2009-10.
Antrix posted sales of Rs940 crore in 2007-08 and it is targeting Rs900 crore to Rs1,000 crore in the current financial year, he said, adding it is unrealistic to aim too high a growth as there is a lot of gloom in the market.