Updated 02:00 IST[Late CityThursday, July 29, 1999, New Delhi

IRS satellites’ images way ahead of others
Vienna, July 28 (IANS)

In the global satellite market, images produced by Indian satellites have the maximum value. Reason: highest resolution.

The Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) series of satellites provide the best images with a resolution of 5.8m. French satellites provide 10m resolution images while the US satellites are a long way behind, with 30m resolution. Resolution is an important aspect in space images — the lower they get, the better the images and detectability are.

With the launch of ever more powerful IRS satellites and the successful launch of two foreign satellites — the South Korean KITSAT-3 and the German DLR-TUBSET — India has turned outside of its borders to earn money from its space programmes. After its first successful commercial launch India is poised to become a major player in the satellite market.

Apart from the fact that there are five remote sensing satellites in orbit, India is continuing to develop its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLV) and the Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV). The first test launch of the GSLV which can carry a payload of 2.5 tonnes is expected by the middle of next year. Antrix Corporation, the marketing arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has contracted a US-based firm, Space Imaging, as the sole distributor of its satellite imagery outside the country.

Besides private firms, many countries like Germany and Sweden buy IRS data. Antrix and Arianespace of France have agreed to market the PSLV. Efforts to use Indian rockets to launch satellites received a boost when a PSLV rocket successfully put into orbit the two foreign-made satellites in May this year.

A Belgian satellite is to go up as an auxiliary payload on an Indian rocket next year. “Of course, if somebody wants to use the whole payload of a rocket, we are prepared to consider early launches,” says S Krishnamurthy, director of the publications and public relations unit of ISRO. It is working on developing its own image and marketing its satellites. An advertisement was recently placed in the US-backed weekly Space News.

ISRO has put up an impressive stall at the Third UN conference on exploration and peaceful uses of outer space, or UNISPACE III, under way here.