Chennai, Aug 27 (IANS) The 100th launch mission of the Indian space agency slated for Sep 9 will also showcase the cooperation between two global competitors, a growing trend in the space industry, said a senior official of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
"India's Antrix Corporation and the French company Astrium SAS compete in the global market for vending remote sensing satellite imageries. The SPOT and Indian remote sensing satellites are the two leading earth observation satellite series. But next month an Indian rocket will be launching its competitor's satellite SPOT 6," the official told IANS.
A research report by the US-based Futron Corporation also said that international collaboration was increasingly taking shape as a concerted space competitiveness strategy, especially among smaller players in the field.
At a space conference held in Mysore, ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan said that collaborating and partnering with each other would be a win-win for all the stakeholders owing to cost prohibitive space missions that require enormous human and associated resources.
According to ISRO, the satellite launch agreement between Antrix and Astrium is part of the long-term agreement signed between the two agencies in Sep 2008.
In Nov 2010, under an agreement between Antrix and Astrium, a communication satellite HYLAS was built by ISRO and Astrium for a European customer.
ISRO officials said that SPOT 6 and its co-passenger Japanese satellite Proiteres were in the final stages of assembling and testing at the first launch pad at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
The satellites would be carried by the Indian rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
According to ISRO, India has built 62 satellites and 37 rockets starting from its first satellite Aryabhatta and rocket satellite launch vehicle (SLV). The total number of space missions till date is 99.
"ISRO counts each of its rocket flights as a single mission. If our satellite is launched by a foreign rocket then it is counted as single mission. Whereas if an Indian rocket (PSLV) launches multiple satellites built and owned by ISRO then each satellite is counted individually as a mission," said an ISRO official.
Launching foreign and satellites owned by other Indian organisations are not counted as a mission.
India began its space journey in 1975 with the launch of Aryabhatta using a Russian rocket.