PSLV: Isro set to rake in over $20 mn

When Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) workhorse, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), blasts off next Sunday, space scientists will have many reasons to celebrate — including one that will set the cash registers ringing. The Indian space agency will rake in more than $20 million for hoisting two foreign satellites-SPOT-6 of France and Proiteres of Japan-into space.

The 720-Kg advanced remote sensing satellite manufactured by ASTRIUM SAS of France will be the heaviest foreign satellite to be transporting into space by PSLV from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota Range, about 90 km from Chennai. The third reason for the celebrations, according to space scientists, would be the 100th mission of ISRO with none less than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set to witness the flight of PSLV-C21 on the morning of September 9.

A host of other dignitaries and the who's who of the world of space would join Dr Singh at Sriharikota Range to watch the milestone flight, scientists of ISRO told Deccan Chronicle. The previous missions include launch of 62 satellites — beginning with Aryabhata in 1975 — and 37 flights of various rockets. The scientists said a powerful variant of PSLV would launch the indigenous orbiter to Mars in October-November 2013.

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