The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is expected to launch Singapore’s first satellite in orbit next month.
The launch of the satellite, dubbed X-Sat, has been delayed since 2007.
Experts estimated that the delay has raised the cost of satellite four-fold to more than 40 million Singaporean dollar from earlier estimates of 10 million, according to a report in The Straits Times on Tuesday.
No reasons were given for the delay in the launch of X-Sat in December, 2010, and it was not linked to the failure of ISRO’s Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle on Christmas Day.
The X-Sat would ride on Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) which has made 17 launches since its maiden flight in 1993, and has successfully put 38 satellites into the space out of the 40.
The X-Sat, a refrigerator-sized micro satellite, would be in orbit for three years at a height of 800 km.
It would take photographs to measures soil erosion and environmental changes on Earth, then relay them to a ground station at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
“The experimental micro-satellite is in the final phase of preparation leading to its assembly on the PSLV rocket. Stringent checks would be carried out before the launch,” the paper quoted a NTU spokesman as saying.
But ISRO has not set a launch date, the spokesman added.
ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan said the PSLV was in the assembling stage. “We will be doing the flight testing stage later in January, and are expecting it to be launched in the first week of February,” he was quoted as saying in recent media reports.
The 100 kg X-Sat would be one of the three riding on the PSLV rocket, said Mr. Radhakrishnan.
The X-Sat would make Singapore one of the first Southeast Asian countries to have a locally-built satellite in space. The satellite is built by NTU, one of Singapore’s top universities and research and development centres.