India has already launched 35 foreign satellites successfully into space until now, but the ISRO-DEVAS deal controversy had marred Antrix's image. Antrix is the commercial wing of the ISRO.

Features Friday, July 18, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute | June 30, 2014 | 12:19 PM IST  ISRO’s successful launch of five foreign satellites through the PSLV C23, has boosted India’s image in the global space market.The launch of the satellite went ahead as scheduled at 9.52 am at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota, on Monday, carrying five foreign satellites. India has already launched 35 foreign satellites successfully into space until now, but the ISRO-DEVAS deal controversy had marred Antrix's image. Antrix is the commercial wing of the ISRO. The primary satellite that PSLV-C23 carried is made by Airbus Defence and Space, France, a leading aerospace company and adding them to its client list has boosted ISRO's image in the market. The other satellites included a 714 kg French Earth Observation Satellite SPOT-7 as the main payload; the 14 kg AISAT of Germany; NLS7.1 (CAN-X4) and NLS7.2 (CAN-X5) of Canada each weighing 15 kg; and the 7 kg VELOX-1 of Singapore are being carried as co-passengers. These five satellites were launched under commercial arrangements that ANTRIX entered with the respective foreign agencies. This was ISRO's first fully commercial launch of foreign satellites after September 2012. India’s reputation at the international level had taken a beating after ISRO’s commercial wing Antrix was embroiled in a controversy. Following the launch, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the work of ISRO’s scientists and said that the launch had placed India in an elite group of countries which had good space programmes. Continuing in the same vein, he joked that India’s Mars programme was not as expensive as the budget of a Hollywood film named Gravity.Modi said that there was a need to dispel the notion that space programmes had nothing to do with the common man. he said that technology had the power to transform the lives of ordinary people. Invoking a Sanskrti phrase “Vasudeva kutumbakam”, Modi said that India’s space programme was driven by service to humanity and not desire for power. He urged the Indian space scientists to develop a SAARC satellite that would offer a full range of services that can be used by the neighbouring countries. Modi also urged the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to expand the footprint of its navigation systems to all of South Asia. He said the Indian navigation system will be in place by 2015. India should develop more advanced satellites and develop capabilities to launch heavier satellites, Modi said. He said the benefits of space technology should be shared with those who do not have the same and cited the provision of telemedicine technology to Afghanistan and Africa. Modi in his 25-minute speech said the continued progress should be the national mission and asked ISRO to engage with all the stakeholders to maximize the use of space science in governance and development. According to him, the space technology is an invaluable asset in disaster management with its advanced warning systems. He said GIS (Geographic Information Systems) has transformed policy planning, implementation while space imaging enables management of resources. Praising the Indian space scientists for the successful rocket launch, Modi said they have shown the world the power of frugal engineering and imagination. He said the cost of India's mission to Mars is lower than the cost of Hollywood movie "Gravity". Modi said he is following the progress of the Mars mission keenly. (With inputs from agencies)
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