Bangalore: India’s space agency is set to launch a special platform to put into space miniature satellites catering to the needs of developing countries and the domestic scientific community.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is developing a 100-kg “satellite bus” in response to the growing demand which has emerged in recent times, for launching nano-satellites, according to ISRO Chairman, G Madhavan Nair.
“We are trying to look at a small platform which can take up scientific experiments or one that can be used for various cluster formations and similar things,” Nair told PTI.
He informed that it would be 100-kg bus which would be ready for launch in 2008. The platform will have a unique imaging system that can be used by third world countries. “With low-cost terminals, they can receive data about their region, that is going to be servicing the needs of various developing countries,” he said.
This would be well received, especially within the Indian scientific community. Nair who is also secretary in the Department of Space and is chairman of the Space Commission, is confident that many science missions in the 11th Plan (2007-12) will go on that.
Nair noted that ISRO’s first satellite many years ago was a nano one, weighing just 40 kg. “Since the demand was not there earlier, we did not concentrate on nano-satellites so far. But, now, many scientists want to come up with small experiments, and against that backdrop there is no point in making big satellites for them.
Bangalore-based ISRO is also trying to reach out to Africa, where its presence is “not very strong”, he said. “We would be looking for partners to help us establish contacts in the African region.”
ISRO has established a tele-medicine network in Ethiopia and is now looking at an education network in other parts of Africa. “We will try to slowly expand our activities in Africa,” Nair said.
The agency’s marketing arm, Antrix Corporation, clocked revenues of Rs 500 crore in 2006-07 and will adopt a more aggressive approach to push the satellite communication business.
“Some proposals are being generated (for Antrix to take up),” Nair said.