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ISRO to launch French satellite in 2012

Kolkata, India: Continuing its programme of commercial launch of foreign satellites, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has lined up launch of an image capturing satellite of France next year, according to Parivakkam Subramaniam Veeraraghavan, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), a unit of ISRO.

The French satellite SPOT (Satellite Pour l’observation de la Terre) is a high-resolution, optical imaging, earth observation satellite system. Currently SPOT 5 is working in the space and is expected to be withdrawn by the end of 2013. India will launch the SPOT 6 satellite, which will provide continuous high definition images of earth.

Due to the cost effectiveness of India-made PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) and GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicles), many countries prefer India to launch their satellites. Recently ISRO successfully placed Singapore’s first experimental satellite in space. India has so far launched 27 foreign satellites and 60 India-made satellites.

“Because of our cost effective technology, many developed nations, including France and the US are willing to launch their satellites with our system,” Veeraraghavan said while attending the National Technology Day seminar organised by National Aluminum Company (Nalco) in Kolkata, India.

Currently, it costs USD 25,000 per kg to launch a satellite. The satellites can weigh 500 to 5,000 kg. Sometimes mini-satellites weighing 15-20 kg are bundled with the rocket and are placed in desired orbits.

In next five years, ISRO has plans to launch one ASTROSAT, which is a low cost version of Hubble Telescope, one GPS navigation satellite and a special satellite that can provide Internet services, informed the VSSC director.

Source: Business Standard