Sriharikota, August 31: Countdown begins! Today ISRO will launch its first private sector satellite from Sriharikota High Altitude Range (SHAR) at 6.59 pm. This private sector satellite will replace one of NAVIC's seven satellites, which is malfunctioning. The NAVIC is a system of seven home-made navigational satellites which is currently powering the Swadeshi Global Positioning System.
This 1,425 kg IRNSS-1H, which was ideally supposed to be launched in April 2018, will be launched by PSLV. "For the first time, a private company has been involved in the integration of a satellite. Progressively, we will involve more and more companies in satellite assembly activities," ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar. The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is an independent regional navigation satellite system developed by India at par with US-based GPS. PSLV-C39 will use the 'XL' version of PSLV equipped with six strap-ons, each carrying 12 tons of propellant. The spacecraft weighs over 1,400kg and was built and tested by ISRO along with a consortium of six small and medium industries.
In a period of over eight months, a consortium led by Alpha Design Technologies, which is a defence equipment supplier from Bengaluru, built this new satellite. And this was built under the complete supervision of 70 Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists. According to ISRO officials, the total cost of all the seven satellites was $ 222 million.
“The larger participation of the private firms in the space programme will help ISRO to launch more satellites. We also called for an expression of interest from domestic entities to join hands with us to help achieve the ambitious target of launching up to 18 satellites in a year,” the space agency officials said.