India bags orders to launch 68 foreign satellites

GSAT-14 satellite to go live
Riding on the success of its rocket launches and domain expertise in space technology, India has secured new orders to launch 68 satellites for overseas customers, including a dozen from the US, a top official said on Tuesday.

“We got fresh orders to launch 68 satellites from various countries, including 12 from PlanetiQ, a US-based weather forecasting satellite firm,” said Rakesh Sasibhushan, Chairman and Managing Director of Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of the Indian space agency.

Through Antrix, the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched 74 foreign satellites, including many from advanced countries like Belgium, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Israel and the US over the 15 years, using its most reliable workhorse – the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

“We estimate 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,” Sashibhushan told reporters here ahead of the fifth biennial Space Expo from Thursday here.

The new orders include for launching smaller and nano-satellites with different payloads (instruments) for experiments, data generation, image-capturing and transmitting signals for communications, broadcasting, remote-sensing, earth observation and weather conditions.

“We also got an order to launch a heavier earth observation satellite from an overseas customer, said Sashibhushan without naming the customer, and asserted that Antrix would try to be competitive to win more contracts.