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isro mars missionThe Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), that got global recognition for its successful launch of a mission to Mars, will now launch German, French, British and Canadaian satellites, a top official said.

“We will be launching EnMAP (Environmental Mapping and Analysis Programme) satellite belonging to Germany. The satellite will weigh around 800 kg,” ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan told a news agency in an interview.

The EnMAP is a hyperspectral satellite that would provide images of the Earth at regular intervals. This apart, ISRO will be launching French satellite SPOT-7 during the first quarter of 2014, Radhakrishnan said.

“There will be four more small foreign satellites that would go along with SPOT-7,” he added.

ISRO had launched the SPOT-6 satellite in 2012.

Radhakrishnan said discussions were held with British agencies for launching three satellites each weighing around 300 kg and also to launch a set of Canadian satellites. The idea is to have at least one commercial launch every year using the Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), the ISRO chairman said.

According to him, the PSLV rocket’s reliability has been underlined once again with the launch of Mars Orbiter in a precise manner despite the challenges.

Queried about the status of Mars Orbiter, he said: “The Orbiter has been raised to around 193,000 km apogee (farthest point from Earth). We are all gearing up for the dawn of Dec 1 when the Orbiter will be injected in trans-Martian orbit.”

ISRO has been switching on the various systems and payloads of the Orbiter to check their functionalities and health. Read more

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