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On Friday, Isro launched a Cartosat-2E earth observation satellite, along with 30 nano satellites for other customers that included the first-ever for Slovakia.
Spire Global, a US satellite firm was a repeat customer on the 40th flight of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), the workhorse rocket which has emerged as a preferred vehicle for launching small satellites globally. Cartosat-2E is the seventh earth observation satellite in the series.
“Isro will continue work on its earth observation, navigation and communication satellites,” said A S Kiran Kumar, chairman of Isro.
“The PSLV is emerging as a credible launch vehicle for anybody across the globe, both because of the frequency at which the launch is happening and the access and timeline within which their satellites can be put into orbit.”
The 30 international customer nano satellites were launched as part of arrangements with Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of Isro.
Kumar said that with each PSLV launch, Isro is trying to improve in capability areas such as multiple restarts and hurling satellites into multiple orbits.
The space agency is looking at three launches. One is to send a navigation satellite to replace IRNSS-1A, whose atomic clocks had failed, and two communication satellites, GSAT17 and GSAT-11, by December.
Isro plans to have two launches each of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark II and Mark III, and eight to 10 launches of PSLV rockets a year, Kumar said.
Isro’s earth observation programme envisages continuity of the thematic series — Resourcesat, Cartosat, Oceansat, RISAT, and INSAT for land, water, ocean and meteorological satellites.
It also envisages placing a geo-imaging satellite in geostationary orbit to enable near real-time imaging.