Moon mission won't lead
to big satellite launch orders
Oct 17 (IANS) The launch of India's lunar spacecraft Chandrayaan
Oct 22 will not immediately result in big satellite launch
orders for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), but
will improve its expertise in the area where India specialises
- Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLV).
carry lightweight research satellites, not the heavy communication
or weather satellites that orbit the earth above the equator.
In the area of these rockets, called Geosynchronous Satellite
Launch Vehicles (GSLV), India has a long way to go before
it can attract commercial luggage.
over the lunar or other planetary missions are in exploratory
research stage. Estimating the commercial fallout of India's
moon mission is too early to discuss. People have to go a
long way to exploit the potential," K.R. Sridhara Murthi,
executive director, Antrix Corporation Limited told IANS.
Rs.9.4 billion turnover Antrix (profit Rs.1.6 billion) is
the commercial arm of ISRO.
the pictures taken by the Chandrayaan spacecraft will not
be of much commercial value. But they will have scientific
value. The one advantage that India has is that we are in
the game in an early stage," Murthi said.
that the main driver is future potential and strategic capability,
he said: "The positive spinoff is the development of
technological capability in making high energy instruments,
miniaturised components, robotics and others that will be
in useful in the long run."
PSLV is used for placing lighter satellites in polar orbit
and at times in geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) if the
payload is around 1,100 kg, GSLV is for putting heavier satellites
of around two tonnes in GTO.
research institutes and universities would want to send small
satellites on PSLVs and they are widely dispersed across the
globe, making it difficult to make a concerted marketing pitch,
will be considered seriously in the global satellite launch
arena only when its GSLV Mark III comes into play with a capacity
to carry over three tonnes, he added.
current strategy relating to its rockets is to maximise the
carrying capacity utilisation by pitching for light weight
luggage as co-passenger for its own satellite - the main luggage.
has not invested in capacity creation to wait for payload.
Our investment is for our use and at the same time cash on
the available opportunity," Murthi said.
bulk of the commercial launches around the world are for communication
satellites that weigh over three tonnes, a segment dominated
by Europe, the US, Russia and China.
major launch vehicles in the world are Delta, Pegasus, Shuttle,
Atlas, Ariane, Soyuz, Proton, Titan and the new Long March
that belongs to China.
rocket freight rate is calculated on cost per kilogramme per
kilometre carried basis.
has used PSLV to launch 16 third party satellites till now.
heaviest is the 500 kg Italian satellite Agile in 2004 followed
by the Israeli satellite TecSAR that weighed 300 kg.
ISRO has received three or four payload commitments from third
parties for PSLV, said Murthi.
to him the overall launch industry is stagnating in the last
couple of years.
is no big growth. No big satellite systems are coming into