Hyderabad: The Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) workhorse rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), will undergo its first commercial launch at the end of May when it launches an Italian satellite, Agile. The satellite will study galaxies and stars with the aid of X-ray detectors, ISRO chairman, G Madhavan Nair, told reporters.
The Agile is expected to reveal information about new star formations and related events, Nair said. Since the mission costs are going to be fully met by the Italians, it will also become the PSLVs first commercial launch.
Nair revealed that ISRO bagged the contract for the Italian satellite for $11 million.
So far, ISRO has launched small 'piggyback' payloads of 50 to 100 kgs for foreign agencies. The Agile payload will mark the first time that the agency would be carrying a 400 kg foreign satellite as a single payload.
The ISRO chairman also let it be known that the PSLV-C7, launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on January 10, was performing well in orbit.