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ISRO arm may get more satellite launch contracts

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The ISRO Chairman, Dr G. Madhavan Nair (left), with fellow scientists at a press conference after the successful launch of the PSLV-C10 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.
The ISRO Chairman, Dr G. Madhavan Nair (left), with fellow scientists at a press conference after the successful launch of the PSLV-C10 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.

Madhumathi D.S.

Bangalore, Jan. 22 ISRO’s arm Antrix Corporation may be snapping up some more satellite launch contracts from global customers.

The ISRO Chairman, Dr G. Madhavan Nair, indicated as much. “We expect that in the near term, two major contracts will come through. We have already signed a contract for half a dozen small satellites,” he told Business Line. The small or nanosats have been built by Canadian and Dutch universities.

One of the prime but domestic contracts, which may be coming up in February, is Cartosat-2A. Mr Nair said the spacecraft, built at the Bangalore satellite centre, “has just been shifted today”. The earth observation satellite is a Ministry of Defence mission, with no details coming from ISRO.

He was speaking from Chennai hours after a PSLV rocket put an Israeli reconnaissance satellite, the 300-kg TecSAR/ Polaris, into orbit from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.

There are reports that the launch contracts of two more upcoming TecSARs may also be coming to Antrix. Mr Nair merely said, “They [Israel] are happy with this launch perfect. If they come with a request for any other launch, we will have to see the merit of the case, if it is attractive and comes with a good price, etc.”

Mr Nair admitted a delay in the launch of TecSAR. “We had some technical problems around September-October. By the time we resolved them, we got into the severe monsoon period of Sriharikota.”

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 23, 2008)
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