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India plans to double satellite launches within five years

RIA Novosti

26/07/2007 18:32 NEW DELHI, July 26 (RIA Novosti) - India intends to double the number of satellites it orbits within five years, the head of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said Thursday.

India has been successfully developing its space program in recent years, regularly launching satellites using its own booster rockets.

"On the average, four-five launches annually against a maximum of two a year, which we make now," Press Trust of India quoted Madhavan Nair as telling journalists in Bangalore.

Nair said India will have launched 15 telecommunications satellites and 8-10 earth remote sensing satellites by March 2012, when the 11th five-year plan has been completed.

ISRO experts estimate the cost of building and launching 25 satellites at 80-90 billion rupees ($2-2.25 billion).

Nair said the move will seriously increase the load on ISRO and other enterprises in the space sector.

A leading Indian broadsheet quoted anonymous sources July 18 as saying the country is planning to launch an Israeli spy satellite in September.

According to information obtained by Times of India, ISRO's time-proven four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle will orbit a 260-kilogram (570-pound) satellite, named TechSar, from the Sriharikota space center, on an island off India's southern coast. The launch will cost around $15 million.

In April, India made its first dedicated commercial launch of this year, orbiting Italia's Agile satellite.

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