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Not looking at Arianespace as a competitor: ISRO

Vice Presidenti Mohd Hamid Ansari presenting the 'Bharat Asmita Award' (Special) to G Madhavan Nair, Chairman ISRO, at the presentation of the 'Bharat Asmita National Awards-2009', in New Delhi on February 3, 2009. PIB photo

BANGALORE (PTI): Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman G Madhavan Nair today said that European space consortium Arianespace would market home-grown rocket PSLV in Europe and maintained that ISRO does not see the latter as a long-term competitor.

"ISRO does not want to be a competitor of Arianespace. ISRO is looking for cooperation and collaboration with the European space community to evolve next generation of GSLV-Mk III," he said.

"Similarly (in addition to marketing PSLV), some payloads which do not rightly suit their launcher (rocket), they (Arianespace) will deflect to us," Nair, also Secretary in the Department of Space, said on the sidelines of an international seminar here.

Chairman and CEO of Arianespace, Jean-Yves Le Gall, who was also present, added, "Cooperation (with ISRO) will centre around (marketing in Europe of) PSLV (ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle)".

Since 1981, Arianespace has launched 13 of ISRO's satellites. It is slated to launch INSAT-4G towards the end of this year.

Beyond that, barring one or two launches for which ISRO may have to go to Arianespace, Indian space agency is expected to have all launches from Indian soil. Its first flight of GSLV-Mk III, which can carry four tonne class satellite, is expected next year and this rocket is slated to be operational after the first two flights.

Asked about ISRO's relationship with Arianespace once the Indian space agency is fully self-reliant in launches, Nair said: "It has to evolve. They have Ariane-5 (rocket), the most powerful launcher. We have GSLV-Mk III. They can play a complementary role". Le Gall said there is a big demand for launching medium class satellites (which Arianespace would divert to ISRO if they get orders). PSLV has established itself, he said, noting that this rocket was used for the recent Chandrayaan-1 moon mission India is now playing a full role in the international space market, he said, adding: "ISRO has reached the highest level of efficiency and competitiveness".

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