Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space Science

India's Successful Commercial Satellite Launch 168

Posted by kdawson
from the join-the-club dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday India successfully launched an Italian astronomical satellite. A BBC article (view video clip) notes that the launch grants India membership in the exclusive group of nations that can sustain commercial satellite launches. India's launch vehicle has less overall capacity than the competition — up to 1,500 kg to orbit — but the country plans to sweep the low end of the market by offering the lowest cost per launched kilogram for smaller payloads."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

India's Successful Commercial Satellite Launch

Comments Filter:
  • I have read a lot of Sci-Fi books (even the Firefly series on TV) and the general consensus is that the next superpowers will be India and China.. I guess this just fits right into the timeline...
    • by vivaoporto (1064484) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @02:51PM (#18859337)
      Well, I don't know if in a multilateral world (as opposed to the Bi-polarized Cold War world) there is space to the concept of "Superpower" anymore, but if there is (along with India and China), Brazil, South Africa and Australia stands a chance too. A lot of economic and technological development happening barely unnoticed south of the equator too.
      • by spun (1352)
        I'd put the EU in that list as well. Was the EU left out because it is just assumed they will be a major player, or because they are so socialist and it is assumed they won't be?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by vivaoporto (1064484)
          I left E.U., Japan, U.S. and Russia out because they are already major players.
          • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary.yahoo@com> on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @03:49PM (#18860321) Journal
            That's the reason I hoped you had left them off, rather than the typical US "dang soshlist ferners cain't do nutin' right!" reasoning. ;-)
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Semptimilius (917640)
            And the reason you put Australia on the list but left off Canada? Assuming it would be absorbed into the US?
            • by vivaoporto (1064484) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @05:15PM (#18861675)
              Canada is also already one of the big players, and a very nice one too. One of the biggest economies of the world, fierce enough to have entered both world wars as soon as Britain did, but peaceful enough to stay out of most of the conflicts the rest of the world got involved afterwards.

              I didn't mentioned the current top dogs because then can't go higher, they are already at the top. But Brasil, India, China, Australia, South Africa, all these countries still have an unfulfilled potential, and I hope that in the next decades they will get their act straight and rise to the place they are supposed to be.
            • Assuming it would be absorbed into the US?

              The coming ice age should take care of them. Along with those pesky EU socialists, and nutjob USians. Viva la Mexico!
      • by DogDude (805747)
        The US won't let any other superpowers emerge. If anybody gets too powerful, the US will just bomb the hell out of them.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by vivaoporto (1064484)
          Good lucky bombing big and populous countries like:
          • China: Most populated country, 3rd biggest country in territory, 2nd GDP
          • India: 2nd most populated, 7th biggest in territory, 4th GDP
          • Brasil: 5th most populated, 5th biggest in territory, 10th GDP

          Even if indiscriminately nuking these countries (all of them reportedly with nuclear capabilities) would not ensure Mutual Assured Destruction, the aftermath of this unlikely event would be disastrous for U.S. and worldwide economy in general, and the curr

          • by bheekling (976077)
            Brazil has nuclear weapons? I think not [wikipedia.org].
            • I said *reportedly* nuclear capabilities [wikipedia.org].
              • by bheekling (976077)
                The first line of your link says

                "Based on Brazil's history, it is believed that the country does not possess any weapons of mass destruction."

                Also, If you scroll down, my link [wikipedia.org] lists Brazil under "States formerly possessing nuclear programs".

                Sure, you could say "What idiotic country would dismantle its entire nuclear arsenal", and you're probably right, but thats assuming they actually had nukes in the first place, at which point both of will us run out of evidence to back either of our claims and this c

  • W00T! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by eviloverlordx (99809)
    It's a good thing to see another country getting into space. Pretty soon we'll have Bollywood 24/7, but I hope that the Indian government can use their own satellites to help improve the lives of the average Indian citizen.
    • Or, for ICBMs... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205)

      I hope that the Indian government can use their own satellites to help improve the lives of the average Indian citizen.

      Or, at least use the rockets for ICBMs to mess up the lives of the average Chinese/Pakistani citizen. Remember, one of the goals of the original space race was to show the enemy that anything could be dropped on them at any time.

      I wonder if the U.S. will turn a blind eye to such things (like we did with our recent fissionable materials agreements) because India is currently our friend...

    • by mrokkam (783202)
      Actually, the Indian government has launched many satellites to help it's own people.

      India does not really have many known spy satellites. What it does have many of is: Weather and Remote sensing satellites to help farmers through rainfall prediction, actual land usage and study etc.
      India also has launched the INSAT series of satellites for communications, telephone lines, Television broadcasting. Some transponders on these satellites have been reserved for distance education programs so that universities l
    • India is the only country in the world to use satellites for agricultural research. (National Geographic, June/July 1997, if you'd like a reference)

  • Astronomical satellite? Are the Italians still trying to prove that Earth is at the centre of the solar system and the universe?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nyeerrmm (940927)
      Actually the Italians have what seems to be a productive (if low budget) space agency. While they don't run many of their own high profile missions, they have payloads attached to both the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Casini-Huygens mission.

      Not to mention that the top orbital mechanics professor in my department is an Italian, and the Italian grad students I've gotten to work with have been wonderful. Plus of course Galileo himself was Italian as well, even if his government and church weren't the
      • by giorgiofr (887762)

        even if his government and church weren't the most supportive
        And the understatement of the year award goes to... Nyeerrmm!
      • by Russ1642 (1087959)
        Do you think that maybe, perhaps, that was my point or do I have to draw you a picture? Really kills a joke when you explain it that way. So here goes: Yes the Italians employ great scientists. They have a history of great science. They also have a history of oppressing and denying that work. Usually this bit of irony is rather funny but not on /. I guess. I promise to be dull and make no attempt at humour in the future. Of course the same joke could be made about the present day USA. (Oops, I broke my pr
  • ISS: Houston, we have a problem.

    New Delhi: Hello, please spell your name and give me your complete customer ID.
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by arcite (661011)
      You forgot, (in faux american accent):

      Hello! My name is Marry-Beth, how may I help you!? :)

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by $RANDOMLUSER (804576)
      "Have you tried rebooting your spacecraft?"
      "Do you have your Emergency Repair CD?"
      ...long, forehead whapping, circular conversation, going nowhere...
      "I am most sorry that I am unable to help you with your meteorite damage problem."
      "Is there anything else I can help you with?"
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by zcubed (916242)
      SpaceCo: Thank you for calling SpaceCo technical support, my name is David (pronounced Dahveed) how may I help you?
      ISS: I am having trouble with my 2nd lab computer
      SpaceCo: What I need you to do is make sure the power cord is plugged in. I will wait while you check.
      ISS: Yes, it is plugged in! The mouse pointer isn't moving when I touch the touch pad.
      SpaceCo: Ok, now what I need you to do is to plug the power cord into a different device to confirm that is is working correctly. I will wait whi
    • by ackthpt (218170) *
      First Alu Muttar in orbit! w00t!
  • YEIGH! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    GO INDIA! Seriously.
    • by Wolfrider (856)
      Yah, I'm big against outsourcing and all but when it comes to space delivery == cheap AND reliable, I say "Go India" -- if they can do it, FWAG**.

      **Fine, well and good
  • ...how much their atom bomb weighs.

    Wonder what Pakistan thinks of this?

  • pun (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I hope this will help them to curry favor with other space-industrialized nations.
  • There more important launch is that of Chandrayaan, India's Lunar Probe. That will show them getting out of Earth's well, as well as ability to send a probe elsewhere. That helps everybody WRT to understanding what is on the moon esp at the poles. Do not get me wrong. I am not trying to be glib about India's success. But they have done numerous other LEO (and I believe a couple of GEO) launches. So other than being commercial, it is nothing.
    • I am sure if India establishes itself as a commercial player and can start making a profit from launching satellites, this could prove to be *very* important. If not to the rest of the world (though I am sure the other commercial launchers are watching closely) then at least to India's domestic space program. I am sure the Indian government is far more likely to listen to their scientists requests to send up costly science experiments into space if the space program is closer to financial self-sufficiency.

      O
  • Holy Cow... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Notquitecajun (1073646) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @03:06PM (#18859605)
    What CAN'T you outsource to India?

    And there's a "thank you, come again" joke around here somewhere...
    • Not sure this has anything to do with outsourcing, but it appears to have everything to do with good old fashioned commercial competition. Good for India.
  • "Yesterday India successfully launched an Italian astronomical satellite [CC]. A BBC article (view video clip [CC]) notes that the launch grants India membership in the exclusive group of nations that can sustain commercial satellite launches [CC]. India's launch vehicle has less overall capacity than the competition -- up to 1,500 kg to orbit -- but the country plans to sweep the low end of the market by offering the lowest cost per launched kilogram for smaller payloads."

    From what I understand, if you would give these guys a license http://www.space-rockets.com/arsa.html [space-rockets.com] they would probably launch satellites for a 12 pack and some bragging rights, especially on that 'low end of the market' sector.

  • list please? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tverbeek (457094) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @03:26PM (#18859985) Homepage
    It is too much to ask, that a link labeled "nations that can sustain commercial satellite launches" might actually include information about which nations can sustain commercial satellite launches?
  • PSLV- lite (Score:2, Informative)

    The PSLV I remember was a 1500Kg class vehicle and the summary said it is on the low end. The article clarifies that in this mission they launched it without the six strap-on boosters that nominally forms the zero stage. Here they have launched 530 Kg in to 550Km orbit. Not bad. But the base vehicle is not the low end of the market. What ISRO has demonstrated is its flexibility in using PSLV to launch 1500Kg sattelites or PSLV-lite to launch 500Kg sattelites.

    It is a good job, but launching rockets is not

    • by dbIII (701233)

      It is a good job, but launching rockets is not rocket science.

      Von Braun's body is a moulderin' in the ground and we aint got the moon no more.

      If it was easy there would be a more capable US launch vehicle than the Saturn V or the capability to actually build another one in a short time frame. Russia has one that may be as capable as the Saturn V but the proof is actually building it in it's full configuration and launching it - which is still some years away.

  • and you call the control center that is monitoring the satellite's orbital decay, you get a Bangalore employee named "Bob" who asks you to reboot your PC.
  • india will be sending another covert operative over the pakistan border to "Fireworks-R-Us" to resupply for their next space launch..

    thank you thank you i'll be here all night!
  • Do you suppose they have to call the US for technical support with the satellite and then complain because they can't understand our accent?
  • Old news (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    India had launched commercial satellites way back in 1999 "IRS-P4 (OCEANSAT), launched by Polar Satellite launch vehicle (PSLV-C2) along with Korean KITSAT-3 and German DLR-TUBSAT from Sriharikota (26 May 1999)." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Space_Research _Organisation [wikipedia.org]
  • I love Indian cuisine. And now I rejoice in the knowledge that should I ever make it into orbit I can send for a curry!
  • by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @04:26PM (#18860887) Journal
    I've all but stopped reading /. threads on Indian technical developments. The predictable torrent of snide little stereotypical racist comments that seem to get modded 'funny' is a bit off-putting, and they usually outnumber any vaguely interesting or informative comments by about 7 to 1. The /. crew needs to grow the hell up.
    • First, if something gets modded funny by more people than mod it overrated, than it is funny. /.'s mod system is as good as anything else at defining humor, and better than a lot of TV network panels, if you ask me. They're certainly not perfect, but funny is not something individuals can pick so well. Can something be funny and insulting? Sure, but if you're going to get offended by something in that vein, I'm not sure /. (or many public message boards) are for you.

      Second, the Indian customer service

      • by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @05:23PM (#18861815) Journal

        First, if something gets modded funny by more people than mod it overrated, than it is funny. /.'s mod system is as good as anything else at defining humor, and better than a lot of TV network panels, if you ask me. They're certainly not perfect, but funny is not something individuals can pick so well. Can something be funny and insulting? Sure, but if you're going to get offended by something in that vein, I'm not sure /. (or many public message boards) are for you.
        Oh, so not only is racism funny, but /. is now a racists-only zone? Thanks for clearing that up.

        Second, the Indian customer service phenomenon, which is the majority of cultural humor on this topic, is a big deal in India; has made a huge impact on life there--and they have their own sitcom about it!* Do the jokes get cliched and watered down after a while? Certainly. And some are much better than others. But I for one am glad that they are there.
        Well bully for you. Personally I think that racist jokes are as inappropriate as they are cliché and irrelevant to the topics that provoke them. How would you like it if every story submitted about the US space program was met with a deluge of wisecracks about redneck moonshine-distillers, John Wayne, a gun-toting population, and your half-educated president? You'd start to wonder if it were possible to have a sensible discussion on anything, wouldn't you?
        • by bheekling (976077)

          How would you like it if every story submitted about the US space program was met with a deluge of wisecracks about redneck moonshine-distillers, John Wayne, a gun-toting population, and your half-educated president?

          <confused>I thought they already were... </confused>
  • the country plans to sweep the low end of the market by offering the lowest cost per launched kilogram for smaller payloads

    So, more orbital debris. But at least this will be smaller stuff.

  • Yet another sure sign of India's rise as a technological nation, however I think all the talk of a "superpower" is a bit premature. True, the country has come very far and is not a major producer of technology and the de-facto place to have outsourced technical services done. However, it's important to remember that the nation also has some of the worst abject poverty in the world and while they are launching satellite in one area, there are others where people cram onto hundred year old steam trains.
  • by Palmyst (1065142) on Tuesday April 24, 2007 @04:39PM (#18861063)
    According to various reports, they charged the Italians USD 11 million for the launch of the 350 kg satellite. Roughly $30k per kg while international norm is 10-15k per kg for LEO. Also the launch cost them $15 million. So the launch is still subsidized by the Indian government and they are charging the customer more than the market rate. How is this "commercial", and how is it competitive?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by vvmaha2 (1092815)
      Source: http://www.hindu.com/2007/04/24/stories/2007042414 931500.htm [hindu.com] While the international rates for launching a satellite ranged between $10,000 and $15,000 a kg, Antrix Corporation Limited (The marketing agency of the Department of Space, India) charged more because Agile had to be put into a specific orbit of about 550 km at a low inclination of 2.5 degrees to the equator, Mr. Sridhara Murthi said. This was a difficult orbit and inclination to achieve, and hence the premium rates.
      • by univgeek (442857)
        weirdly, ndtv is carrying widely varying figures.

        http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id =NEWEN20070009135 [ndtv.com]

        ISRO was not keen to name figures but indicated they were charging around 30 per cent less than the regular international price of $15,000 to $20,000 per kg of payload to make things commercially attractive to the customer.

        ''The cost is about Rs 80 crore usually. If you remove the six strapons, it will come down by Rs 12 crore.''

        ''The cost of launch was negotiated on a commercial basis. We have to keep confidentiality to win a market. We are not losing anything. We are making what we are spending and more,'' said Madhavan Nair, Chairperson, ISRO.

        Which makes no sense - Rs 68 Crore = $16 Million.
        353kg @ $15K/kg = $ 5.2 Million.

        So either the numbers are out of whack, or Madhavan Nair's quote is incorrect or out of context.

    • by univgeek (442857)
      Got information from a reporter who was on site during the launch. Apparently ISRO charged the Italians $29000 per kg. And the reason for the high price is the high accuracy of the PSLV and the low inclination from the equator required. The latter is aided by the closeness of Sriharikota to the Equator.

      This allows for little to no use of on-board propellant in the satellite - increasing its orbital life-span significantly.

      Third, there was another satellite launched with this payload - 185 kg.

      Taking the laun
  • "the country plans to sweep the low end of the market by offering the lowest cost per launched kilogram for smaller payloads"

    And why not? It's been working VERY well for them so far. Replace "launched kilogram" with "line of code" and "palyoads" with "projects" and you have the very foundation of the Indian tech boom.
  • Can we put a beowulf cluster up there?
  • "nations that can sustain commercial satellite launches."

    More accurately, "nations that can support the launching of commercial satellites". If a nation's support is required, it's not a commercial launch, it's a government launch. The parent's wording is misleading. That doesn't matter to most people. It does to those interested in commercial space development.

    Governments do these things using peoples' money whether or not they want their money used that way. Companies do things with their own money and ma
  • > the country plans to sweep the low end of the market by offering the lowest cost

    Oh great. I just switched careers from programming to aerospace because my programming job was outsourced to India.

    Porn industry, here I come!
  • I'm wondering how this will affect Elon Musk and the SpaceX effort. They've intended to target the low-end of the launch market, and now they're up against a major nation. I would guess SpaceX can rely on some domestic military and academic research contracts, but that could rapidly become a competitive market as well. I wish both the Indians and Elon well, and hope to see vigorous competition that drives down the price per pound/kilo and delivers safe, reliable access to orbit.
  • As I said two weeks ago [slashdot.org]:

    India has a "home grown" polar satellite launch vehicle now so if Gates wants people to take his stand in favor of unlimited H-1b engineers imported to the US seriously, he should launch himself to space on that vehicle.
    Come on, Gates! Fly PSLV!

Kill Ugly Processor Architectures - Karl Lehenbauer

Working...