India has formed a scientific committee to shortlist proposals from foreign space agencies that want to participate in the country's Chandarayan-1 Moon orbiter mission, scheduled for launch in 2007.
According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman G Madhavan Nair, 20 proposals have been received. "At best we can take only two," he says. The $79 million mission involves placing a 525kg (1,160lb) spacecraft in a 100km (60 mile) polar orbit of the Moon.
India, meanwhile, plans to launch its dedicated educational satellite, Edusat, in early August. The flight, from Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Sriharikotaisland, will use the third development Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle.
Edusat, also known as GSat-3, will carry five Ku-band transponders to provide five regional beams, plus two Ku- and six C-band transponders to provide country-wide coverage. Nair says Edusat will help India set up virtual classrooms to promote education in rural areas.
Also scheduled for launch this year is an indigenous Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle carrying a Cartosat Earth-observation spacecraft. Nair says the ISRO-built Insat-4A communications satellite, carrying 12 Ku- and 12 C-band transponders, will be launched by Ariane 5 before year-end. Insat-4B, second in the seven-spacecraft series, will be launched by Ariane in the second half of next year.
RADHAKRISHNA RAO / BANGALORE
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY TIM FURNISS
Source: Flight International