Satellites

Isro, Arianespace, CNes complete 25 years of cooperation

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MUMBAI: European satellite launch firm Arianespace has announced that exactly 25 years ago (19 June 1981), Europe's Ariane launcher orbited the Indian experimental satellite Apple, built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro).

Since then, Arianespace, Isro and the French space agency CNes have developed a space partnership, forging commercial, government and industrial alliances. 

Within the scope of this cooperation, Isro and Arianespace have signed 13 launch contracts to date. Since the first launch in June 1981, eleven other satellites have been successfully launched by Ariane rockets from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. Arianespace also has a 13th satellite in its order book, Insat 4B, scheduled for launch in the first quarter of 2007.

In March 2004, Arianespace signed a collaboration agreement with Antrix, the company that markets Indian launch vehicles. Since then Arianespace has offered India's PSLV and GSLV launchers, most notably as backup for small satellites which Arianespace's own family of launchers cannot handle.

Arianespace recently signed a launch service contract for European operator Eutelsat's W2M satellite. W2M will be built by a new consortium of Antrix and Astrium Satellites, which proposes a satellite platform built by Isro equipped with a payload supplied by Astrium Satellites.

The collaboration between the Indian and French space agencies kicked off in 1972 with the signature of a bipartite agreement, followed in 1993 by a more general framework agreement. Isro and CNes have teamed up on major projects over the years, most notably in Earth Observation, with the Megha-Tropiques mission, and in telemedicine.

Today, new collaborations are being studied in oceanography, data collection and radio communications, and will enable the two agencies and their teams to further strengthen their relationship.

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