Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning for the launch of a record 68 satellites in one mission by early next year.
India secured deals to launch 68 overseas satellites, including a dozen from the US, a top official said on Tuesday.
The space agency had earlier sent 10 satellites into orbit in a single mission in 2008.
“There are many launches. There is one particular launch we are planning about 68 satellites, that’s also there, that is yet to be finalised,” Antrix CMD Rakesh Sasibhushan told reporters in response to a question on the line up.
Antrix is the commercial arm of ISRO.
Through Antrix, the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched 74 foreign satellites, including many from advanced countries like Belgium, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Israel and the US over the 15 years, using its most reliable workhorse – the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
According to officials, if everything goes well, the launch may take place in another six to seven months and “the satellites will be nano in nature from foreign countries.”
Setting a record in its space programme, ISRO in June had successfully launched 20 satellites, including its earth observation Cartosat-2 series, in a single mission on board ISRO’s workhorse PSLV-C34.
The new orders include launching smaller and nano-satellites with different payloads for experiments, data generation, image-capturing and transmitting signals for communications, broadcasting, remote-sensing, earth observation and weather conditions.
On concerns by certain sections in the US about ISRO launches as it is being subsidised by the government, Mr. Rakesh said “our competitiveness will give answer for this.”
“We have our own programme, we are competing with the world, we will try to be more competitive and probably that will provide the answer,” he added.
Furthermore, he said small satellites are going to become a large market and it can be exploited by Indian Industry.
The commercial arm of ISRO had already earned good sum in foreign exchange through these launches of foreign satellites.