India, having earned 3 billion rupees (Rs) last year from its space programs, expects to win 10 per cent of the global satellite market over the next five years, as it had been reported by The Peninsula, an online Qatari news site. ISRO chief, G Madhavan Nair, told newsmen in Thiruvananthapuram recently that he expected to maintain a revenue growth of 25 per cent because “our greatest advantage is the cost-competitiveness of our space program”.
“The satellite that we just put in orbit, we had spent only Rs 3.8 billion whereas a similar one in the US will fetch Rs15 billion,” he said. “But the Russian and European market is flooded with launchers, mostly with the missile-converted launchers. So it’s a really tough job and we have to rely on our cost advantage,” Nair said. Nair was addressing the press here, along with the team leaders of the recent Cartosat-1 launch mission. Displaying images of the famed Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, and the railway coaches lined up at the Amritsar railway station, taken by Cartosat-1 from space, Nair said the image resolution rate was good. He said countries like Brazil, Chile, South Africa, and Germany had asked for India’s satellite data and images.
India is planning to launch a series of satellites before the 2007-8 Chandrayan-1 lunar mission is launched. “Our own Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), which has proved highly successful during the last eight launches, will be putting the European satellite, ‘Agile’ into orbit early next year, which will be an indigenous, full-fledged commercial launch,” the ISRO chief said.
Besides PSLV, ISRO has developed another launch rocket for placing satellites in orbit, the Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle. PSLV can put more than a ton into low polar orbit, while GSLV can put almost 2.5 tons into geosynchronous orbit. Nair said India would be devoting the whole of next year to mapping work.