An Indian rocket may lift an Israeli spy satellite into orbit within days in the second deal to grab a share of the $2.5 billion global launch market, officials and reports said on Thursday. The Jerusalem Post said on Thursday that the launch of the 300 kg Tecsar, Israel’s most advanced satellite, could take place by the end of the week.
India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle is to take the device into space. The launch “will take place when Israel wants it,” said K.R. Sridhara Murthi, head of Antrix Corp., the marketing arm of the Bangalore-based Indian Space Research Organisation.
Mr Murthi declined to give further details on the mission including a time-frame for the launch, beyond saying it will happen sometime this year. Lior Weintraub, spokesman for the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, declined to comment.
The satellite has a camera that can take pictures of small targets under cloudy and foggy conditions, the Jerusalem Post said. Israel took the decision to launch it from India three years ago. It contracted India because Israel lacks a vehicle capable of boosting the satellite into a polar orbit, said B.K. Pandey, a defence affairs analyst.
India also charges much less than space agencies in the West, Mr Pandey said. “The (launch vehicle) also has a very respectable record of success,” Mr Pandey said of the Indian rocket, which has 11 flights to its credit.