Delayed countdown

Chennai: India's proposal to launch its Insat 3D satellite using its own Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and to place satellites for a fee using its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has made global majors and industry watchers sit up and take notice.

A US-based company, Futron Corporation, recently did a survey of the global satellite industry — satellite manufacturers, launchers, ground service providers and ground equipment manufacturers — for Satellite Industry Association, USA, representing the US commercial satellite industry.

According to Futron director Philip McAlister, India has the potential to capture a moderate market-share in the satellite launch segment with its GSLV and PSLV. Apart from placing India's own satellites in the orbit, PSLV till now has successfully launched four satellites for a fee. PSLV can place satellites on polar as well as geo-synchronous orbits. India still uses France's space vehicle Ariane for its Insat satellites.

Says McAlister: “Both the satellite manufacturing market and the launch market are dominated by US and European-based companies. But India has earned a lot of respect globally for its commitment and success in the launch market. Both the GSLV and the PSLV have very impressive track-records.“

The $11-million Futron specialises in market and industry analysis, safety and risk management, remote sensing and communications, and information management.

According to the survey, the year 2001 saw world satellite industry revenues going up to $85.1 billion from the $82 billion logged the previous year. Last year, the total share of satellite services was $46.4 billion, followed by ground equipment manufacturing ($19.6 billion), satellite manufacturing ($14.1 billion) and launch industry ($5 billion).