Isro’s new venture puts it ahead of others in the satellite launch market.
It has been a year of many firsts for the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro)—from launching its own satellite system to successfully testing a reusable launch vehicle. On Monday, Isro logged yet another ‘first’—with the launch of a vehicle that can transverse orbits. Its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C35) carried eight satellites, five of which belong to international missions from Algeria, the US and Canada, to be placed in two different orbits. While ScatSat-1—India’s weather satellite—was released at an altitude of 724 km, the other seven were released at 670km.
The multi-orbit satellite launcher is a milestone in itself, but it also enables Isro to offer such service globally, as a top brand. Moreover, with its recent milestones achieved at a fraction of what its global counterparts incur, it has the potential to disrupt the major players like the space organisations of the EU, the US and Russia, which account for 80% of the market. While Isro sure-footedly builds its reputation as a low-cost satellite carrier, the laurels it is stacking up give it a boost against private sector competitors like Tesla-founder Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Amazon-founder Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin. More important, with companies vying to launch satellites of their own to have geospatial capability, Isro may see windfall gains from its commercial activity in the coming years.