PSLV-C42 put into orbit Surrey Satellite Technology Limited's (SSTL) NovaSAR and S1-4, weighing 450 kg each.
The third generation Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) designed and operated by India’s space agency ISRO, has turned out to be a money-spinner. Recent reports have revealed that the foreign exchange roped in by the rocket has gone up by Rs 90 crore as against last year’s figure.
Addressing the Upper House of Indian Parliament during the winter session, Union Minister for the Department of Space, Jitendra Singh, informed that the forex brought by Indian PSLV in the 2017-18 fiscal year was Rs 232.56 crore, which shot to Rs 324 crore in this fiscal (2018-19).
The foreign exchange earnings have been made by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) by launching foreign satellites into space, said a report by Times of India.
In the past five years, ISRO earned Rs 1,245 crore from 26 foreign countries by helping them launch their satellites. Some of the major commercial arrangements ISRO signed in these past years were with the following countries: The United States, The United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, The Netherlands, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Algeria.
In the years before 2017-18, ISRO’s forex earnings barely managed to cross the Rs 200 crore margin. For instance, in fiscal 2016-17, it stood at Rs 208 crore, and Rs 227 crore in the fiscal prior to that. The forex earnings were relatively better in the financial year 2014-15, standing at Rs 252 crore.
However, the Indian space agency’s share in the global satellite launch market is not even 2%, despite the nation’s mainstay rocket carving a niche for itself and minting money for ISRO.
Since May 26, 1999, PSLV has launched 319 foreign satellites, not weighing more than 445 kilos. Of these, 279 were launched in the past five years alone.
Keeping in mind the profitable market scenario for small satellites, India has also developed a mini-PSLV, also known as the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV). Its first test flight is slated to take place in the first half of 2020. The USP of the SSLV is that it can be assembled within a maximum of five days, whereas assembling a normal rocket takes at least a month or more than that. Moreover, the mini PSLV can be built at one-tenth of the cost of the PSLV.