Kolkata: Bouyed with the high success rate achieved with its commercial launches, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has said it plans to step up its commercial activities in order to earn larger revenues. It says it is also negotiating with certain countries that restrict the use of Indian launch vehicles.
''Our domestic requirement is four to five launches per year and we are trying to increase commercial launches. We are favourably placed since our costs are about 80% of international launching costs. But some countries have restrictions on launching their satellites from other countries, as well as Indian launch vehicles. The technology which we use is applicable for dual purpose - hence some of these countries have reservations,'' ISRO chairman, G Madhavan Nair, said.
His reference to dual use refers to launching satellites for military as well as civilian purposes.
Nair was talking to reporters after receiving the Ramomohan Puraskar 2008 in Kolkata last week.
ISRO launched the PSLV C-9 last month with two satellites Cartosat-2A and the IMS-1, along with eight nano-satellites. It became only the second country in the world after Russia, to launch multi-satellites with polar satellite launch vehicles.
Talking about preparations related to the launch of the country's moon mission, Chandrayan-1, India's first unmanned mission to the moon, he said that it was proceeding on schedule and that the launch was expected in the third quarter of the year.
He also said that the satellite would be programmed to orbit the moon for two years. During its orbit, the Chandrayaan will take pictures of the lunar surface in phases and also look for the existence of water and special elements like helium-3.
After the launch of the Chandrayan-1, ISRO will turn its attention to the launch of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).
He also added that work was on to shift ISRO's remote sensing application centre from Kharagpur to Kolkata and it will be operational towards the end of next year.