India's low-cost mission to Planet Mars seems to be reaping dividends with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) approaching the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) to launch its maiden Mars mission in 2020, the government said.
Following Isro's successful Rs450-crore mission to launch the country's Mars Orbiter spacecraft, several countries have evinced interest in Indian technology for satellite launches.
''India has entered into space marketing and we will be launching commercial satellites for many other countries,'' said union minister of state for department of space Jitendra Singh.
Isro chairman and Department of Space secretary A S Kiran Kumar said the agency is in the process of validating and analysing the discoveries made by the Mars mission.
''We have a working arrangement with NASA. We are also in discussion with CNES (French space agency). Recently, we had a discussion with the UAE. It wants to have a Mars Mission for 2020. So they are interested in making use of the expertise available here,'' he said.
The launch date for the UAE's Mars mission, dubbed the 'Hope Probe', is sometime around July 2020. It is expected to arrive on Mars just in time to coincide with the UAE's 50th anniversary of independence.
India also announced that it would perform the first test of the reusable rocket launch vehicle technology for low-cost access to space in September. The winged vehicle would take off like a rocket and land like an aircraft (See: Isro set to test space shuttle technology in July).
"India has entered into space marketing and we will be launching commercial satellites for many other countries," said Jitendra Singh.
The reusable space vehicle will help improve cost effectiveness. It will reduce the cost by one-tenth. The launch vehicle will be landing first time in the ocean and the ultimate attempt is to make it land at an air-strip at Sriharikota, said Kumar.
Isro would also launch Astrosat, the country's first dedicated satellite for astronomy, by September, he said.