Bengaluru: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch a record 68 satellites in one mission by early next year, it announced yesterday.
“There are many launches. There is one particular launch we are planning about 68 satellites, that’s also there, that is yet to be finalised,” Rakesh Sasibhushan, chairman and managing director of Antrix told reporters in response to a question on the line up.
Antrix is the commercial arm of ISRO.
According to officials, if everything goes well, the launch may take place in another six to seven months and “the satellites will be nano in nature from foreign countries.”
Setting a record in its space programme, ISRO successfully launched 20 satellites in June this year – including its earth observation Cartosat-2 series. It launched all the satellites in a single mission on board ISRO’s workhorse PSLV-C34 from the spaceport in Sriharkota, Andhra Pradesh.
The space agency earlier sent 10 satellites into orbit in a single mission in 2008.
Certain sections of the US have expressed concern regarding ISRO’s launches since the organisation is subsidised by the Indian government. Sasibhushan responded to these concerns saying, “our competitiveness will give answer for this.”
“All launches are subsidised, it is not that we are subsidising or somebody else is subsidising. These government subsidies in the form of R and D (research and development) investment comes in all launch programmes, now some private industries have come up who have started questioning, let them question,” he said.
“We have our own programme, we are competing with the world, we will try to be more competitive and probably that will provide the answer,” he added.
Rakesh said small satellites are going to become a large market and it can be exploited by Indian industries.
“ISRO can play a technology provider’s role there. We would like to get this across to as many industries as possible to see that tomorrow the country is benefited by this.”