PSLV bags first Australian order

The News

  • The Indian PSLV launcher has broken into a rising Australian space market and bagged its first order from Down Under.

Key Highlights

  • 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.

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