National

Sunday will see PSLV’s biggest commercial lift

France has chosen an outside launch for a SPOT for the first time

This Sunday, the Indian Space Research Organisation is set to make another mark in its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) launcher business when it flies French earth observation satellite SPOT 6.

In the 13 years since the PSLV went commercial, the 720 kg SPOT 6 will be its biggest commercial lift. PROITERES, a 15-kg Japanese observation satellite, will also be put in orbit that day.

For the third time in 21 PSLV (one failed) missions, there will be no Indian satellite on it. In the other two ‘dedicated’ or exclusively-for-client launches, it put in orbit 350 kg Agile in 2007 and Israeli radar spy satellite TECSAR the following year.

Agile has been its biggest lift to date. The other two-dozen foreign commercial satellites were below 300 kg and sent up with a primary domestic satellite.

The cost of a PSLV ride depends on the satellite’s weight and the distance it must reach. It also launched the first Indian lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1, in 2008. ISRO officials say it costs about Rs. 90 crore to build the present bare-bones or ‘core alone’ version of the PSLV.

Antrix officials were not available for comments on the PSLV's business prospects.

France has chosen an outside launch for a SPOT for the first time: the previous five SPOT satellites went up on aboard earlier versions of European Ariane rocket.

Although Europe now has the new Vega light lifter in the PSLV class, its reliability is still to be proven after a maiden flight this year.

The SPOT 6 contract came to the ISRO from its maker, Astrium SAS, in September 2008.

In an e-mail, a spokesperson for Astrium said: “We needed to launch SPOT 6 quickly… by mid-2012.” Its low weight needed a small launcher and “the PSLV was the best match; its choice was perfectly in line with the longstanding cooperation between Astrium and Antrix.” The two are partners in the global satellite building market.

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Support Quality Journalism
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 25, 2020 9:20:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sunday-will-see-pslvs-biggest-commercial-lift/article3871937.ece

Next Story