with US to boost India's space launch industry
Chennai, July 28 (IANS) A technology safeguards agreement
(TSA) signed with the US last week will open up fresh opportunities
for India in the field of space launches, say officials.
The agreement, signed July 20 in New Delhi, will facilitate
the launch of non-commercial US satellites and satellites
with US components on Indian launch vehicles.
"It will open up more satellite launch opportunities
for India," said K.R. Sridhara Murthi, executive director
of Antrix Corp, the Rs.1,000-crore ($200 million) commercial
and marketing arm of the country's space agency, Indian Space
Research Organisation (ISRO).
"Earlier, satellites built with US-made components were
not available for Indian launch vehicles," Murthi told
IANS from Bangalore on phone.
At present, the total market for non-commercial launches is
estimated to be around 40 satellites a year, of which India's
share is very small. However, with the TSA agreement, India
is poised to make a larger penetration into the market, said
Generally, non-commercial satellites are lightweight and may
not fetch big revenues for a rocket launch agency as the satellite
transport fee depends on its weight and the orbit into which
it has to be launched.
ISRO's advantage is that it is one of the few space agencies
in the world that can sling a light satellite into low orbit.
Though the deal will give advantage to the country in the
non-commercial satellite field, India is still prohibited
from launching US satellites or using US-made satellite components
in the heavy commercial satellite segment.
New Delhi has to sign a commercial space launch agreement
(CSLA) with Washington for the restrictions to get eased.
However, ISRO's cooperation with other countries is steadily
improving, said Murthi.
The space agency is now gearing up to launch an Algerian satellite
Alsat by the year-end with its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle
"Owned by the Algerian Space Agency, the satellite is
built by a French company with components of US origin,"
That apart, ISRO will also launch Megha Tropiques, an Indo-French
joint satellite mission for studying tropical atmosphere and
climate issues like monsoon, cyclones and others.
The satellite will have an Italian made atmospheric sounder
Apart from Alsat and Megha Tropiques, ISRO will also launch
small satellites from Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, Singapore
Another major launch mission of the agency for the current
year is the launch of GSLV-D3 (geosynchronous satellite launch
vehicle) that will carry communication satellite GSAT-4.
GSLV-D3 will use an indigenous cryogenic engine that will
place the satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO),
After that, GSLV-F06 carrying INSAT-3D will be launched.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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