In a historic move, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has secured a deal to launch 68 foreign satellites, 12 of which are from the US. In the face of tough global competition, this is a major move forward for India's national space agency.
Over the past 15 years, ISRO has launched 74 foreign satellites using its most reliable launch system — the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). ISRO’s global client list includes EADS Astrium, Intelsat, Avanti Group, WorldSpace, Inmarsat, World Sat, DLR, KARI, Eutelsat, and several other space institutions across Europe, West Asia, and South-East Asia.
Over the past decade-and-a-half, ISRO has gained popularity for its 100 percent successful foreign satellite launches using the PSLV rockets. Compared to foreign space agencies such as Arianespace, BlueOrigin, Firefly Systems, Rocket Lab, and SpaceX, ISRO's services are up to 60 percent cheaper, making India the preferred destination.
“We also got an order to launch a heavier earth observation satellite from an overseas customer,” Rakesh Sasibhushan, Chairman and Managing Director of Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of ISRO said, as reported by the Hindustan Times.
PSLV-C34 had earlier set a record in June by placing 20 satellites in a single launch. “We plan to carry more satellites in a single launch at a time for optimal utilisation of the rocket space and other resources for achieving economies of scale,” Sasibhushan said.