Arianespace, India Fete 25 Years Of Ties; Launch Set For First Quarter 2007
France and India are celebrating 25 years of collaboration on space programs at events in Paris.
The celebration will include Arianspace, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), and the French Space Agency CNES.
Activities will commemorate the beginning of the space relationship between France and India: On June 19, 1981, Europe’s Ariane launcher orbited the Indian experimental satellite Apple, built by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
Since then, Arianespace, ISRO and French space agency CNES have forged commercial, government and industrial alliances.
The alliance thus far has seen ISRO and Arianespace sign thirteen launch contracts. Since that first launch in 1981, eleven other satellites have been lofted into orbit 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.
Collaboration between the Indian and French space agencies kicked off in 1972 with the signing 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.
Currently, new collaborations are being studied in oceanography, data collection and radio communications.