India set to launch Israeli spy satellite

India set to launch Israeli spy satellite


Bangalore: An Indian rocket may lift an Israeli spy satellite into orbit within days in the second deal to grab a share of the $2.5-billion global launch market, according to officials and reports in the Jerusalem Post which said that the launch of the 300-kilogramme (660-pound) Tecsar, Israel’s most advanced satellite, could take place by the end of the week.

India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle is to take the device into space. The launch “will take place when Israel wants it," said K.R. Sridhara Murthi, head of Antrix Corp., the marketing arm of the Bangalore-based Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)

Murthi declined to give further details on the mission including a time-frame for the launch, beyond saying it will happen sometime this year.

Lior Weintraub, spokesman for the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, however declined to comment. The satellite has a camera that can take pictures of small targets under cloudy and foggy conditions.

Israel took the decision to launch it from India three years ago. It contracted India because Israel lacks a vehicle capable of boosting the satellite into a polar orbit, said BK. Pandey, a defence affairs analyst.

India also charges much less than space agencies in the West, Pandey said.

“The (launch vehicle) has a very respectable record of success," Pandey said of the Indian rocket, which has 11 flights to its credit.

On 2September, India successfully launched a rocket carrying a replacement for a communications satellite destroyed last year after a booster rocket failed about a minute into flight.