India’s space agency has in its pipeline eight foreign satellites for launch and is scouting to acquire such spacecraft from abroad to expand capacity in the field of communication transponder back home.
“Today, we have eight (foreign) satellites to be launched. This will be launched over the next two-three years”, Managing Director of Antrix Corporation, marketing arm of Bangalore headquartered Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), K R Sridhara Murthi, said.
These are a mix of small and bigger satellites, he said but declined to elaborate, noting that the space agency is yet to formally ink some of these contracts. But one foreign satellite that is being readied for launch is a 150-kg one from Algeria, which is slated to be launched by home-grown Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle as a piggyback payload likely in April next year. Sridhara Murthi said ISRO is looking for opportunities to acquire foreign satellites.
In fact, it, along with its global partners, recently unsuccessfully bid to acquire a satellite, which was put up for auctioning by a company facing bankruptcy, in the United States. Intelsat won the bid with a price of USD 210 million.ISRO was ready to shell out USD 100 million for part of the capacity that it intended to use, Sridhara Murthi said.