The operationalisation of India’s heavier rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk II (GSLV-Mk II) opens up more launch service revenue opportunity, said a top official of Antrix Corporation Ltd. India on Thursday successfully put into orbit its INSAT-3DR weather satellite using GSLV-Mk II rocket and in the process put the rocket, which has a carrying capacity of 2-2.5 ton to geo-transfer orbit, for commercial launches from its “developmental” stage. According to S Rakesh, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Antrix, India’s lighter rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is consolidating its position in the small satellite launch market. India will also test launch a much heavier rocket GSLV-Mk III with four ton carrying capacity during this December or in January 2017. Also Read - Starlink satellite broadband service faces challenge in India, Elon Musk led company questionedAlso Read - Today's Google doodle is all about India's 'satellite man': Here's all you need to know
“The global satellite launch services market is estimated at around $5 billion. It is not known the annual launch market size of satellites that would suit GSLV-Mk II,” S Rakesh said. “The GSLV rocket will operate in a different satellite launch segment. We are looking at various avenues to earn foreign exchange using this rocket,” Rakesh said. Adding to this, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Chairman A.S.Kiran Kumar said: “Antrix is also looking at launching small satellites in low orbits. Several small satellites can be accommodated in one GSLV.”
“It is a new vehicle (rocket). The target launch date was December 2016 but there could be slight delay as large number of tests has to be carried out. We will also be taking the opportunity to launch a communication satellite atop the GSLV-Mk II that will be similar to GSAT 11 but slightly small in size,” said Kiran Kumar. Officials of Indian space agency had earlier termed GSLV as the “naughty boy” as owing to its failure rate and tricky cryogenic engine technology. However on the back of GSLV-Mk-II success for third consecutive time, S.Somanath, Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) declared that “the cryogenic engine technology no more scares ISRO“.
Queried about the impending launches, K.Sivan, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) said India will be launching ScatSat – a weather monitoring and forecasting satellite — with polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) at the end of the month. The Indian satellite will have as its co-passenger an Algerian Alsat satellite and six other satellites. Both the satellites will be put into different orbits. Thus, the fourth stage/engine of the rocket will be switched off after first ejecting ScatSat. Then, after a gap of around 30 minutes, the engine will be restarted to put the Algerian satellite into its intended orbit. ALSO READ: President Pranab Mukherjee congratulates ISRO on successful INSAT-3DR launch
About the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), Kiran Kumar said the service is being used by several entities. He said an advertiser on auto-rickshaws use IRNSS to track the vehicles and pay the vehicle owners. ALSO READ: India set to launch 68 foreign satellites: ISRO