The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which launched a record 11 satellites in one go with its moon mission 'Chandrayan' on 22 October last year, and successfully launched the 3,463 kg W2M satellite in partnership with the European space agency, has its hands full now.
The Indian space agency is now gearing up to launch four satellites for as many countries this year.
"The Indian space agency is gearing up to launch four satellites of Singapore, Netherlands, Italy and Algeria in 2009," said KR Sridhara Murthy, managing director of Antrix Corporation Ltd, which is the commercial arm of Bangalore-based ISRO.
He said, if everything goes as planned, ISRO will soon be a research centre for international space research professionals. The country already has a strong presence in the international satellite-building and launch service, Murthy pointed out.
The W2M communication satellite, launched in partnership with EADS-Astrium, is the heaviest satellite built by ISRO so far. The satellite was jointly developed by Antrix and EADS-Astrium for Eutelsat Communications, the Paris based global satellite communications provider.
Antrix provided the satellite and performed W2M's integration and testing at ISRO facilities in Bangalore, Astrium was responsible for overall programme management and delivery of the communications payload.
The W2M communication satellite, which also brought ISRO a record $40 million profit, was launched by the European Ariane-5 launch vehicle from the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou in French Guiana just two weeks ago.
KR Sridhara Murthy, managing director of Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of ISRO, said these contracts have been achieved by ISRO independently and not in partnership with EADS-Astrium.
The cost of satellite production in India, at Euro 20,000 per kg, is also the lowest for any country so far, Murthy further added.
ISRO, he said, is trying its best to make its satellites more power and weight efficient so that it can pack more payloads without increasing the weight of the satellite.
Besides, ISRO is also developing a more powerful launch vehicle. Once the new GSLV-Mk III rocket is operational, ISRO will be able to launch heavier satellites, Murthy added.