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ISRO Launches Seven Satellites

An IDC Report

Oceansat-2 Satellite (Pic courtesy: ISRO)

On 23 Sep 2009, a month after its Chandrayaan-1 moon explorer went kaput due to communications failure, ISRO successfully put into orbit seven satellites approx. 720 kilometres above the Earth, using their tried and tested PSLV IV rocket. The satellites included Oceansat-2, meant to increase the capability of Oceansat-1 launched in 1999 and to monitor ocean patterns and identify fishing zones.

The six foreign satellites, which rode piggyback on the same launch vehicle, included four from Germany and one each from Switzerland and Turkey. They are university-funded payloads being used to test new technologies.

Mindful of the country's ambitious entry into the space launch business, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G. Madhavan Nair proudly stated, "Once again we have proved that we can do the job precisely. The satellites have been placed in the desired orbit at the exact time," from the space lauch pad at Sriharikota, about 80 kilometres northeast of Chennai. The cost of the launch was estimated at US$40 m (Rs 2 bn).

ISRO quietly entered into the space launch market in 2007 by successfully putting in orbit an Italian satellite and because of tremendous cost advantages over other countries in the business, hopes to corner a substantial percentage share in the global market.

Oceansat-2 will study the role of oceans on the Earth's atmosphere and the data will be used to identify fishing zones, as well as helping with coastal & weather studies, weather forecasting and climate patterns.

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