Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has signed deals to put nine American nano/micro satellites into orbit by the end of 2016, an official said on Thursday.
These include a couple of nano/micro US satellites which are likely to be launched by the ISRO this year as piggyback luggage on its own satellite, the official said.
Generally, nano satellites are ones that weigh between 1-10 kg while micro satellites weigh from 10-100 kg.
“The Astrosat satellite is slated for launch in September. It will be launched using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket. Some of the micro/nano satellites of the US may also go in that rocket as piggyback luggage,” the ISRO official told IANS, preferring anonymity.
According to him, the ISRO will be sending up the US satellites on different PSLV rockets.
“The contract is to launch all the satellites by the end of 2016,” he added.
India has successfully completed several multiple satellite launch missions in the past.
Meanwhile, ISRO officials are gearing up for the August 27 launch of communication satellite GSAT-6 through its heavier rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark-II.
“The GSLV-GSAT-6 launch is tentatively fixed for August 27 and work is progressing towards that,” the ISRO official said.
On the other hand the first developmental flight of GSLV-Mark III rocket with a capacity to launch four ton satellites is expected to happen towards the end of 2016.
The rocket will be powered by an indigenous cryogenic engine which is currently under development.
The government has allocated Rs.470 crore for the development of the GSLV Mark-III rocket in the Twelfth Five Year Plan.