New Delhi (Sputnik) — Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is gearing up to gain a bigger slice of the micro-satellite launch market. Its commercial arm Antrix Corporation plans to launch 83 satellites on-board its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle ‘PSLV-C37' in January next year from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
The mission includes three satellites including Indian Cartosat-2 series satellites weighing 730 kilogram. In addition there will be 80 satellites weighing 500 kgs from international customers.
"80 satellites (total weighing 500 kg) belonging to international customers from Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the US. These international customer satellites are being launched as part of the commercial arrangement between customers and Antrix Corporation," India's Minister of State for Space Dr Jitendra Singh informed Parliament.
Sources told Sputnik that ISRO has bagged orders from the US-based weather satellite firm PlanetiQ. ISRO has been contracted for activities related to mission studies, satellite interface analysis and several other technical/ programmatic aspects and it claims that the preparedness to launch this ambitious mission is progressing well.
Antrix estimates that about 2,500 satellites will be built in the next decade to meet the needs of countries and private customers for navigation, maritime, surveillance and other space-based applications.
During the last financial year (2015-16), Antrix earned revenue of approximately USD 34.5 mn through commercial launch services, which is about 0.6 per cent of the global launch services market.
Meanwhile, the government hopes that ISRO will be able to develop an advanced Indian mega space launcher with semi-cryogenic engine only after five years. But, the first developmental flight of the GSLV
Mark-III vehicle is expected to be launched in the first quarter of 2017.