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ISRO hands 2 contracts to Arianespace, renews deal with EADS

A file photo.

BANGALORE (PTI): Indian Space Research Organisation has given an estimated Rs 500 crore order to Arianespace and renewed the five-year contract with EADS Astrium for joint marketing of satellites, it was announced Saturday during the visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy here in Bangalore.

"We have signed commercial agreements with Arianespace for two more launches -- GSAT-8 in 2011 and GSAT-10 in 2012", ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said.

He did not specify the contract value but ISRO sources said launch cost of each satellite is around Rs 250 crore.

Radhakrishnan said Arianespace, the European launcher which operates from France's territory of Atlantic coast in South America, has so far launched 12 Indian satellites.

He also announced that a strategic alliance signed between EADS Astrium, Europe's leading satellite system specialist, and ISRO in 2005 was renewed on Saturday for another five years.

Under the alliance, ISRO's commercial arm Antrix Corporation Limited and EADS Astrium, wholly owned subsidiary of EADS SPACE, will jointly address the commercial market for communications satellites with payload power below 4 Kw and a launch mass in the range of two to three tonnes.

Satellites in this segment represent a sizeable and stable part of the market. The aim of this cooperation is to optimise INSAT 2K and 3K Platforms along with EADS Astrium payloads.

Radhakrishnan said Megha-Tropiques and SARAL satellites, being jointly developed by ISRO and its French counterpart CNES, would be launched in May and December 2011 respectively, as he recalled the "rich legacy of cooperation and collaborations" between the two space agencies since 1972.

ISRO and CNES would continue to work together and explore new domains, including climate change and other frontier areas he said and told the French President: "Your visit to ISRO inspires both space agencies to look forward to and to look beyond with synergy".

ISRO sources said Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni were shown an exhibition put up at the ISRO Satellite Centre, where they also viewed the Megha-Tropique satellite being developed in a clean-room.


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