Antrix Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), has finalised contracts to launch 16 satellites of six countries in the coming years.
Minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh, informed this to the Lok Sabha today.
In a written reply to the House, he said, from 1999-till date, Isro had successfully launched 40 satellites of foreign customers from 19 countries on board its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). In doing so, Isro had provided space launching services for developing countries in Asia and Africa.
Antrix has launched an Indonesian satellite, while a contract had been finalised for launching two more. It has also launched a satellite for an African country Algeria, he said.The minister stated projects undertaken by Antrix include establishment of ground stations for reception of data from Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites along with processing facilities at 20 locations outside India, building two contemporary communication satellites for European customers, a communication satellite for India’s strategic use, providing tracking support for over 70 spacecraft missions of foreign customers and provisioning of satellite transponder capacity from Indian communication satellites.
Antrix has also taken up the launch of 40 foreign satellites onboard PSLV, establishment of ground terminals for tele-education, tele-medicine, disaster mitigation and village resource centres.
The minister said Isro and the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) had been working together to realise a dual frequency (L&S-band) synthetic aperture radar mission for an earth observation satellite. Both agencies had established an Isro-Nasa Mars Working Group to explore the possibilities of enhancing cooperation in Mars exploration.
Isro does not have any plan for developing an Indian space telescope similar to the Hubble Space Telescope, he clarified.
Isro’s space exploration projects in the next three years includes a multi-wavelength astronomy satellite ‘ASTROSAT’ aimed at studying the celestial sources over a wide spectral region covering Visible, Ultraviolet, Soft X-rays and Hard X-ray bands.
Chandrayaan-2 mission comprising of an Indian Orbiter, Lander and Rover. The Orbiter with scientific payloads will orbit around the moon. The scientific payloads onboard the Orbiter, Lander and Rover are expected to perform mineralogical and elemental studies of the lunar surface.
A scientific mission ‘Aditya’ for solar studies to understand the physical processes that heat the solar corona.
The Union Minister said that Isro is not facing shortage of engineers/scientists/physicists to fill up the sanctioned posts.
He said, as a part of the long term capacity build up strategies for developing high quality human resources in Space Science area, the Department of Space / Isro has introduced fellowship schemes for post graduate students pursuing space science and atmospheric research in eight Universities in the Country;
An one time financial grant to set up Space Science laboratories in select eight Universities in the Country, introduction of research fellowship to enable scientists from universities and other academic and research institutions to visit and conduct research work at national laboratories, academic/research institutions;
Established Joint Astronomy Programme with participation of other research laboratories and an academic institution in organising research in astronomy area leading to award of Ph.D to young research students and developed customized academic programme in Space Science area both at Undergraduate and Graduate level at the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology.
The Indian Space Research Organisation has set-up a fellowship programme at an American University and has setup an endowed fellowship programme at the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), California, USA.
This fellowship programme is established in honour of Dr. Satish Dhawan, who was the former Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation.
The fellowship provides an opportunity every year to one meritorious graduating student from the Aerospace Department of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram to be sponsored by the Department of Space, to pursue Masters in Aerospace Engineering at Caltech.
The fellowship programme has started in the winter session of the academic year 2013-14 and one student has availed this fellowship and already completed his Masters degree at Caltech.