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Congratulations on Successful Launch of PSLV-C8 Mission!

Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C8) successfully launched the Italian astronomical satellite AGILE at 3:30 pm (Indian Standard Time) on April 23, 2007, from Satish Dhawan Space Center (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota, India, into a 550 km circular orbit inclined at an angle of 2.5 deg to the equator.

Since 1994, PSLV has successfully launched eight Indian remote sensing satellites, an amateur radio satellite, a recoverable space capsule and six foreign small satellites in addition to one meteorological satellite Kalpana-1 into geostationary transfer orbit. However, PSLV-C8 was the first major commercial launch. Starting from this PSLV-C8 launch, ISRO is expecting to get into serious international competition for commercial launch businesses.

APRSAF interviewed Dr. Rajeev Lochan, Assistant Scientific Secretary of ISRO, about the PSLV-C8 launch on April 25, 2007, in Tokyo and he gave us the following comments:

"Although we have already launched 6 piggy-back satellites from foreign countries: 2 from Germany, 1 from Korea, 1 from Belgium, 1 from Indonesia and 1 from Argentina, this committed commercial launch becomes very important for us because this opens the door to many more commercial launches in the future.
Regarding the forthcoming commercial launches, we have already obtained a few contracts with foreign customers and also there are many more contracts under negotiation. There are mainly two benefits why foreign countries could choose Indian launch service: The launch price is very competitive compared to western countries and a large number of launches take place every year. Since the opportunities for launching small satellites are not very many, universities and research institutions have to wait for years to get an affordable launch for their small satellites. We could carry and launch some of these small satellites together with a main satellite in PLSV."

"We don't have any specific plan for promoting space industries in the Asia-Pacific region but we are working very strongly for the development and knowledge sharing in the fields of Space Science and Applications so that the countries, especially the developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region, can get the benefits of space. We have set up a special capacity building institution affiliated to the United Nation called CSSTEAP (Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in the Asia Pacific region) where 600 students from 46 countries have benefited. We share our experiences with the officials who come to the institution for studies. We provide on-hand experience in processing actual remote sensing data, communication satellite data, and meteorological data from Indian satellites to help them understand the intricacies of space application which enables them to develop their own capacity in their countries to use this for their nation building. That is our approach towards bringing the benefits of space to the entire humanity and especially to the developing countries."


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