With the successful launch of PSLV-C30 carrying six foreign customer satellites (one each from Indonesia and Canada and four nano satellites from the USA) along with India’s Multi Wavelength Astronomical Observatory ASTROSAT, ISRO crossed the 50 international customer satellite launch mark. All the 51 satellites from abroad launched by India so far have been placed in orbit by India’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). During 1994-2015 period, PSLV has launched a total of 84 satellites of which 51 are for international customers.
Though PSLV was designed to launch Indian remote sensing satellites into polar sun synchronous orbit, the vehicle has repeatedly proved its reliability and versatility by successfully launching satellites into a variety of orbits including polar Sun Synchronous, Geosynchronous Transfer and Low Earth orbits of small inclination, thereby repeatedly proving the robustness of its design.
ISRO offers launch services to the international customers through PSLV. ISRO entered the commercial launch services market by launching KITSAT-3 of Republic of Korea and DLR-TUBSAT of Germany along with IRS-P4 (OCEANSAT) onboard PSLV-C2 on May 26, 1999. So far, International customers satellites from 20 countries (Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and USA) have been successfully launched by PSLV during 15 of its launches.
Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix), incorporated in 1992, a wholly owned Government of India Company under the administrative control of Department of Space (DOS) and the commercial arm of ISRO has already entered into a number of agreements for launching satellites for international customers onboard PSLV. Antrix promotes and commercially exploits the products and services emanating from the Indian Space Programme. In addition to providing launch services for international customer satellites, Antrix provisions communication satellite transponders for broadcasting and telecommunication services, markets data from Indian Remote Sensing(IRS) satellites, builds and markets satellites and satellites subsystems and extends mission support services for satellite launches.
The outlook for commercial launches is promising for ISRO/Antrix with many other proposals from international customers under active discussion and consideration.