Mexico and Bolivia are expected to seek help from India to build and launch satellites, officials in the two countries said, in a sign of Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) widening footprint.
Since 1995, Isro’s workhorse launcher PSLV has launched 77 satellites — 45 of these belonging to 19 countries — and counting. Now, the Bolivian government has reached out to New Delhi to help it design and then put its communications satellite into orbit.
Director general, Bolivian Space Agency (ABE), Jhonny Ivan Zambrana Cruz, told FE: “We are working on the specifications and configurations for the construction and eventual launching of our second satellite Tupac Katari II. Once that is complete, we have an interest to work with Isro.” “Military satellite is not our priority yet; the second satellite that is on the drawing board is for our telecommunications,” Cruz added.
With an approximate investment of around $200 million, the Bolivian space agency feels that that Isro, which has to its credit the launches of several satellites at low cost, would be able to help, said sources.
According to Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, head, nuclear and space policy initiative, Observer Research Foundation: “Cheaper and credible launches and India’s overall expertise is driving these countries towards India. Also, we are a bridge power between the US and Russia & China.”
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Meanwhile, besides seeking India’s shoestring-budget space technology to launch its own satellites, Mexico is also keen on space agencies of both countries to work together and help in Mexico’s water management project.
Julio Cesar Castillo Urdapilleta, director of space security, Agencia Espacial Mexicana, told FE: “We are keen on finding a way to cooperate in water management project based on space-based applications. Improving water quality will be the phase one of our space cooperation.”
Javier Roch, deputy general director of industrial development, Agencia Espacial Mexicana, said: “We are looking for advantages in launching satellites and we have India on our list of countries that we would like to work with.” In April 2017, a delegation from Isro will be visiting Mexico for discussions.