ISRO earned $0.6 million when PSLV-C9 put eight foreign nano satellites in orbit
CHENNAI: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) earned $0.6 million when its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C9) put in orbit on Monday eight nano satellites from abroad, according to K.R. Sridhara Murthy, managing director, Antrix Corporation.
The launch was executed under a commercial contract among the University of Toronto, Canada; Cosmos International, Germany; and Antrix Corporation, ISRO’s marketing agency.
Antrix Corporation charged about $12,000 for a kg for these nano satellites because they were built by the universities. Otherwise, the international rates charged for putting satellites in orbit were between $20,000 and $30,000 a kg, Mr. Sridhara Murthy said. The eight nano satellites together weighed 50 kg.
The PSLV-C9 also put in orbit Cartosat-2A and the Indian Mini Satellite (IMS-1), which were built by the ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore.
Six of the eight nano satellites are clustered under the name NLS-4. The University of Toronto developed the NLS-4. It consists of Cute 1.7 and Seeds, both built in Japan. The remaining four, CAN-X2, AAUSAT-II, COMPASS-1 and Delfi-C3, were fabricated by Canada, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. The other two nano satellites, NLS-5 and Rubin-8, were built by the University of Toronto and Cosmos International. Different universities built them to learn how to miniaturise satellite technologies.
This is the fifth time that ISRO launched satellites from abroad for a fee and the PSLV put them in orbit on all occasions.
Mr. Sridhara Murthy said: “The PSLV has got a good brand value. It has flexibility. It can launch nano, mini and big satellites. It is versatile. It can launch satellites into any type of orbit that the customers want. Besides, we launch on time. All these attract customers.”
While George Koshy was the Mission Director of PSLV-C9, C. Venugopal was the Vehicle Director. M. Krishnaswamy was the Project Director of Cartosat-2A and D.V.A. Raghavamurthy was the Project Director of IMS-1. Mr. Krishnaswamy said the solar panels of both Cartosat-2A and IMS-1 had deployed. The satellites were in good health.
Boon to planners
Cartosat-2A, weighing 690 kg, will produce clear images that can be used in making maps to plan urban and rural infrastructure, to align rural roads and to build settlements.
The images from IMS-1, which weighs 83 kg, will be used to monitor soil, minerals, vegetation, ocean colour and waterbodies.