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ISRO to launch four foreign satellites this year

Artist's concept of W2M satellite. EADS image

BANGALORE (PTI): Indian Space Research Organisation will launch four foreign satellites this year as it seeks to make further inroads into the international satellite building and launch services market in 2009.

Two weeks ago, communication satellite, W2M, built by ISRO on a commercial basis in partnership with EADS-Astrium of Europe, was successfully launched by the European Ariane-5 launch vehicle from the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou in French Guiana.

Managing Director of Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of Bangalore-headquartered ISRO, K R Sridhara Murthy said the Indian space agency is gearing up to launch four satellites of Singapore, the Netherlands, Italy and Algeria. (These contracts were bagged by ISRO independently and not in partnership with EADS-Astrium).

"We have four commitments for Singapore, the Netherlands, Italy and Algeria. We want to complete it in 2009," he told PTI in an interview. "It (the four spacecraft) is a mix of nano and small satellites".

Contractual obligations bar ISRO from talking about specific launch price but Sridhara Murthy said that the space agency's charge per kg of satellite (to be launched) is around Euro 20,000 per kg, quite cheaper than prevailing International prices.

But, he stressed that the launch price is guided by competition, market conditions and demand-supply scenario.

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