Saturday, August 15, 2009

ISRO to put Algerian satellites in orbit by 2010

With the US clearing the decks for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to launch Algerian Satellites with American components, the space agency is planning to put the satellites in orbit by the end of 2009 or early 2010.

The clearance given to launch the Algerian satellites ALSAT-2A and ALSAT-2B -- which have US components on board an Indian space launch vehicle -- comes after the signing of the Technical Safe Guards Agreement (TSA) between the US and India during US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent visit to the country.

“Now that the clearance has been given, we plan to launch the Algerian satellites from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre by the end of the year or early next year if the weather permits,” ISRO spokesperson S Satish.

He added that the space agency’s main priority is to launch the Oceansat- 2 in September followed by the GSAT-4 onboard the GSLV in Octobe or November.

The TSA gives an opportunity for the launch of foreign built non-commercial satellite and not the heavy commercial ones which will require India and the US to sign the commercial space launch agreement (CSLA) which is likely to be signed between India and the US during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visit to Washington next month.

ISRO will also launch the Swiss Cube, a mini satellite built by Swiss students later this year; which will be launched by PSLV. The project manager of the Satellite project Muriel Noca along with the Swiss Astronaut Prof Claude Nicollier are currently touring Indian cities, including Bangalore.

The primary objective of developing this satellite is to provide a dynamic and realistic learning environment for our staff in the development of small satellite technology, said Noca.

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