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ISRO to launch mini-satellites
August 08, 2007 15:37 IST
India's space agency Indian Space Research Organisation will next year launch a special platform to put into space miniature satellites catering to the needs of developing countries and the domestic scientific community, its chief said Wednesday.
ISRO is developing a 100-kg "satellite bus" as demand has picked up for launching nano-satellites, chairman G Madhavan [Images] Nair said.
"We are trying to look at a small platform which can take up scientific experiments or may even be used for various cluster formations and things like that," Nair told PTI.
"So from that angle, a 100-kg bus is being developed. We are going to launch it for the first time next year."
The platform will have a unique imaging system that can be used by third world countries. "With low-cost terminals, they can receive data about their region... that's going to be servicing the needs of various developing countries," Nair said.
"We will try to make it available to the (Indian) scientific community. Many science missions in the 11th Plan (2007-12) will go on that," said Nair, also secretary in the Department of Space and chairman of the Space Commission.
Nair noted that ISRO's first satellite many years ago was a nano one, weighing just 40 kg.
"Since the demand was not there (earlier), we did not concentrate on (nano-satellites). Now, many scientists want to come up with small experiments, there is no point in making big satellites for them."
ISRO recently reached an agreement with Brazil [Images] to enable that country to receive data from IRS (Indian remote sensing) satellites. "They (Brazil) in turn will disseminate the data in South America," Nair said.
Bangalore-based ISRO is also trying to reach out to Africa, where its presence is "not very strong", he said. "We would be looking for partners to help us establish contacts in the African region."
ISRO has established a tele-medicine network in Ethiopia and is now looking at an education network in other parts of Africa. "We will try to slowly expand our activities in Africa," Nair said.
The agency's marketing arm, Antrix Corporation, clocked revenues of Rs 500 crore in 2006-07 and will adopt a more aggressive approach to push the satellite communication business.
"Some proposals are being generated (for Antrix to take up)," Nair said.