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19 Feb, 2024 13:05

Indian spy satellite to be launched by SpaceX – media

The domestically manufactured spacecraft will help the military obtain data on movements along the borders with China and Pakistan
Indian spy satellite to be launched by SpaceX – media

A domestically manufactured Indian spy satellite is being shipped to Florida to be launched from an Elon Musk-owned SpaceX facility this April, the Economic Times reported on Monday.

The satellite, built by the defense arm of Tata Group – Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) – will be operated from Bengaluru in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, enabling the country to maintain secrecy of operations. The control center will direct the satellite’s path to monitor infrastructure and acquire military targets.

Despite having sub-meter resolution satellites, the South Asian nation has previously relied on intelligence data from foreign nations such as the US, the report noted.

Work on the satellite was completed last week and it has been sent to the US for preparations ahead of launch, the outlet said. The TATA plant in Bengaluru, where the device was built, is believed to have the capability to produce 25 satellites per year. On Monday, the company signed an agreement with the government of Karnataka for more investments in the aerospace and defense sectors.

India has ramped up purchases of satellite imagery from foreign countries recently, especially due to tensions with China along its eastern border. Once India’s own satellite is in orbit, orders for imagery are likely to be put in by friendly nations – the report noted, adding that TASL has already been contacted for orders.

Last December, the head of the Indian Space Research Organization, Sreedhara Panicker Somanath, said the country is planning to launch layers of satellites in different orbits to track the movement of troops and photograph the thousands of kilometers along the borders with China and Pakistan.

He added that India needs ten times more satellites than the 54 it has at present to become a “strong nation.” The country has configured 50 more satellites for developing geo-intelligence capability which could be launched in the next five years, according to Somanath.

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