March 2017




On 15 February 2017, ISRO created a world record of successfully launching and precisely deploying 104 satellites in a single launch.

A Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) successfully launched the 714 kg Cartosat-2 Satellite along with 103 copassenger satellites. Their total weight was 1378 kg.

PSLV-C37 lifted off at 9:28 am IST & 16 minutes 48 seconds later the satellites were released over 12 predetermined sequence beginning with Cartosat-2, followed by INS-1 and INS-2.

The total number of Indian satellites launched by PSLV now stands at 46.

Of the 103 co-passenger satellites carried by PSLV-C37, two - ISRO Nano Satellite-1 (INS- 1) weighing 8.4 kg and INS-2 weighing 9.7 kg - are technology demonstration satellites from India.

The remaining 101 copassenger satellites carried were international customer satellites from USA (96), The Netherlands (1), Switzerland (1), Israel (1), Kazakhstan (1) and UAE (1).

With this successful launch, the total number of customer satellites from abroad launched by India's workhorse launch vehicle PSLV has reached 180.

As ISRO's reputation soared, it has received requests from Mexico & Bolivia to build & launch their satellites. Director general, Bolivian Space Agency (ABE), Jhonny Ivan Zambrana Cruz, told the press "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."

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.


T h e f l e d g l i n g Team Indus will tie up with Indian S p a c e R e s e a r c h Organisation (ISRO) with the aim of hoisting India's flag through an unmanned rover vehicle on the lunar surface on January 26, 2018, the 69th Republic Day.

Team Indus is a group of youngsters who are hedging their bets on winning the $20 million Google Lunar X Prize. Team Indus comprises about 100 people mostly engineers, led by software worker Rahul Narayan who is attempting to win the Google Lunar X Prize.

Team Indus hopes to become the first private company to reach the moon & has roped in angel investors Nandan Nilekani & Ratan Tata and ISRO's K Kasturirangan as advisor. They have collected & spent R 100 crore of a total mission cost of about R 400 crore.

The launch will be via an ISRO PSLV. The launch window starts on December 28, 2017,

The Google Lunar X Prize competition is likely to end by 2017, before which all 16 competing teams must complete their moon shot.

One Israeli & 2 American teams have also procured launch contracts.


The Intelsat 33e, the second of the Intelsat EpicNG high throughput satellites (HTS), s u c c e s s f u l l y completed all in-orbit testing and entered service on 29 January 2017.

The Intelsat 33e reached its parking slot after a protracted journey to orbit caused by a thruster malfunction, but the company has not yet decided if it will file an insurance claim.

Launched in August of last year, Intelsat 33e is equipped with the most advanced digital payload, and anti-jamming systems on a commercial spacecraft. With its exceptionally flexible HTS payload design, Intelsat 33e, operating from 60 degrees East, will extend Intelsat's HTS services in C, Ku & Ka-band to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Mediterranean and Indian Ocean regions.

The Intelsat EpicNG platform will provide three to five times more capacity per satellite than the traditional Intelsat fleet. The expected throughput of the satellites will vary according to application and satellite, but is expected to be in the range of 25- 60 Gbps, typically 10 times more than traditional spacecraft. Intelsat EpicNG services were launched in March 2016 with Intelsat 29e, which is located at 29 degrees West and offers a footprint spanning the Americas, the Caribbean, Eastern United States and the burgeoning North Atlantic region.

Three additional Intelsat EpicNG satellites - Intelsat 32e, Intelsat 35e and Intelsat 37e - are scheduled for launch in 2017. Intelsat EpicNG's global footprint will be completed with Horizons 3e, which is to be stationed at 169° East with a launch planned in the second half of 2018. Horizons 3e will extend Intelsat EpicNG's coverage to the Pacific Ocean Region and further expand Intelsat EpicNG's presence in Asia Pacific.


Thaicom may cancel the launch of its Thaicom-9 satellite, which is expected to be launched into orbit in 2019, because the Thai government has hiked fees.

The government wants Thaicom to pay an annual concession fee of 20.5% of total revenue for its latest 2 satellites (Thaicom 7 and 8), a sharp increase from the 5.75% it currently pays under the licensing system.

"We might seek other alternatives, instead of launching our own satellite, if we cannot get approval from the Digital Economy and Society (DE) Ministry by yearend," said chief financial officer Vuthi Asvasermcharoen.

The alternatives include either renting a coordinated orbital slot from satellite operators in other countries or finding a foreign strategic partner to coprovide services on the partner's satellite.

Several potential customers have expressed interested in renting Thaicom 9 on a long-term contract basis, said Mr Vuthi.

Thaicom says it is also seeking diversification into nonsatellite businesses to offset shrinking revenue from traditional satellite services.


ISRO is preparing its GSLV Mark 3 rocket for commercial duty. It is I n d i a ' s heaviest launch vehicle capable of sending satellites up to 4 tonnes into geosynchronous transfer orbit.

ISRO hope to deploy the GSLV Mark3 to launch the GSAT- 19 satellite later this year.

The Liquid Propulsion Systems Center (LPSC) in India designed the rocket. The engine was fired for a total of 640 seconds and determined to be successful. The cryogenic fluids that are used in this super rocket are Liquid Oxygen (LOX) at minus 195 degrees C and Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) at minus 253 degrees C which are stored in two insulated tanks weighing in at 27.8 tonnes. The rocket uses two solid strap on boosters, a liquid core stage, and the cryogenic upper stage. n