- The Indian PSLV launcher has broken into a rising Australian space market and bagged its first order from Down Under.
- Centauri I, a 10-kg nanosatellite of Fleet Space Technologies, an IoT (Internet of Things) startup, would fly to space on a PSLV later this year.
- The second nanosat, Centauri II, is to be launched on the U.S. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket later this year.
- Fleet Space Technologies plans to put up a constellation of these tiny satellites.
- Centauri series of nanosatellites will enable low-cost connectivity for agriculture, logistics, mining and other industries.
The Global space industry and India’s space in it
- High-speed satellite Internet connections are driving Billions of dollars worth of new investments around the globe.
- Antrix Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of the Department of Space, is marketing the Indian space products and services in the global market.
- Antrix is becoming a serious contender in the $335.5 billion global space industry, and part of a new space race that is poised for take-off.
- ISRO is positioned to take advantage of this because the nature of the project involves placing thousands of small satellites in a so-called Low Earth Orbit.
- ISRO’s most successful rocket, PSLV, does just that.
- So far, India has been an insignificant entity in the space business, where roughly 80% of the revenue has historically come from the launch of heavy satellites in geosynchronous orbits.
- Despite the success of the GSLV Mark III, India still does not have a rocket powerful enough to do that.
- It relies almost entirely on Arianespace to launch its own heavy satellites.
Background about PSLV
- Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, a smaller vehicle, has been in use since 1994, and slowly built a reputation for reliability.
- The PSLV is a launch system primarily developed to launch remote sensing satellites into sun synchronous orbits.
- It has also demonstrated its capability as a workhorse launch vehicle in its missions including launches to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and Low Earth Orbits (LEO).
- The PSLV’s three versions can lift satellites of 1,000-1,750 kg to distances of around 600 km in pole-to-pole orbits.
Its achievements and its significance
- Since 2008, there began a spike in interest towards PSLV.
- Further in 2013, when it successfully launched India’s Mars Orbiter, the cheapest ever mission to Mars, there was a further boost to orders.
- ISRO has launched 237 foreign satellites from 28 countries successfully by PSLV during the period 1999-2018.
- In 2017 alone, PSLV launched 130 foreign satellites.
- PSLV-C37 successfully launched 104 satellites on February 15, 2017.
- This is the highest number of satellites launched in a single flight so far.
- Another 28 foreign satellites were launched by PSLV on January 12, 2018.
- With its capability to put small satellites in Lower Earth Orbit (LEO), PSLV is the key to Indian presence in the Global space business.