Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is scheduled to launch an earth observation satellite for both civilian and strategic purposes on Saturday, 7 November.
If all goes well with the Saturday evening rocketing of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C49) then the Indian space agency would have slung a total of 328 foreign satellites, all for a fee.
The 26-hour countdown for the Saturday rocket launch from the first launch pad will begin on Friday afternoon. The rocket with 10 satellites is expected to lift off at 3.02 p.m. on 7 November from the Sriharikota rocket port, a senior official of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
The nine foreign satellites are from: Lithuania (1-technology demonstrator), Luxembourg (4 maritime application satellites by Kleos Space) and the US (4-Lemur multi mission remote sensing satellites).
Notably, the customer satellites are being launched under a commercial arrangement with NewSpace India Ltd, the commercial arm of ISRO.
The rocket’s primary payload is India’s radar imaging satellite EOS-01, formerly RISAT-2BR2 with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that can shoot pictures in all weather conditions.
The satellite can take pictures day and night and will be useful for surveillance, as well as civilian activities.
It all started in 1999, when India for the first time launched foreign satellites — South Korea’s Kitsat-3 weighing 107 kg and Germany’s 45 kg DLR-Tubsat — as a piggyback luggage on the country’s own 1,050 kg Oceansat with the PSLV-C2 rocket.
Since then, over the next two decades, India has launched 319 foreign satellites, including one Chinese satellite — some on a standalone basis and mostly as a piggyback on India’s own satellite.
The ISRO also created a world record of launching largest number of satellites — 104 satellites out of which 101 were foreign in a single PSLV rocket on 15.2.2017.
According to the Indian government, ISRO has earned Rs 1,245.17 crore during the last five years launching satellites from 26 countries.
During the fiscal 2018-19, the launch income was Rs 324.19 crore up from Rs 232.56 crore earned in 2017-18.