India will ferry two foreign satellites — French and Japanese — on board its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV—C21) rocket in August this year for a price, said a senior official.
“The next rocket launch will be in August. We will be sending our PSLV rocket with French satellite SPOT 6 (800 kg) and a small Japanese satellite weighing around 15 kg. Though the rocket is called PSLV—C21 it will go before PSLV—C20,” P.S. Veeraraghavan, director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), told IANS.
The Thiruvananthapuram-based VSCC is part of India's space agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
ISRO's commercial arm Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix) has entered into a commercial Launch Services Agreement with Astrium SAS, a company under EADS, France for launching SPOT-6, an advanced remote sensing satellite.
What is interesting is that the 800 kg SPOT-6 built by Astrium SAS will be the heaviest third party payload that ISRO will be carrying after the 350 kg Italian satellite Agile it carried in 2007, officials said.
As the total luggage will be around 815 kg, ISRO will be using its Core Alone variant of PSLV (rocket without its six strap on motors).
The mission will take ISRO's total tally of ferrying foreign satellites to 29.
ISRO has been carrying foreign satellites since 1999 initially as an add-on luggage to its own satellite.
It was with Agile satellite that ISRO started flying a full commercial rocket.
According to Veeraraghavan, the space agency would launch SARAL satellite — an Indo-French initiative — using PSLV-C20 rocket after the August launch.