After a day of its successful launch of India’s first Multi Wavelength Space Observatory ASTOSAT, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has crossed yet another milestone by capping 51 international customer satellite launches.
ISRO, with the help of its dependable Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has put into orbit foreign satellites that were launched by India. The organization stated on its website that during 1994-2015 period, PSLV has launched a total of 84 satellites of which 51 are for international customers.
The crowing achievement though came two months ago, when the organization announced that it will be aiding an helping hand to the US to launch one of its satellites through its commercial arm Antrix.
Though PSLV was designed to launch Indian remote sensing satellites into polar sun synchronous orbit, the vehicle has repeatedly proved its reliability and versatility by successfully launching satellites into a variety of orbits including polar Sun Synchronous, Geosynchronous Transfer and Low Earth orbits of small inclination, thereby repeatedly proving the robustness of its design.
ISRO’s assistance to foreign nations began with the launch of KITSAT-3 satellite for the Republic of Korea and DLR-TUBSAT of Germany on May 26, 1999. The success of these launches saw other countries approaching ISRO to launch their satellite into orbit.
From two nations, the tally has risen to 20 in less than two decades. Countries like Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and USA have sought the help of ISRO to launch their satellites. The dark horse behind this success has been the PSLV , which was used as a vehicle during 15 launches.
Its customer oriented wing that launched the satellites of foreign nations is the Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix), incorporated, which began in 1992. Though wholly owned by the Government of India, Antrix has surpassed profits of $140 million in the last five years.
Administrated by the Department of Space (DOS), Antrix has been widely sought after for launching satellites for international customers.
In addition to providing launch services for international customer satellites, Antrix provisions communication satellite transponders for broadcasting and telecommunication services, markets data from Indian Remote Sensing(IRS) satellites, builds and markets satellites and satellites subsystems and extends mission support services for satellite launches.