Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has not just given a stellar performance in space missions, but it has also done the same in its revenue and financial condition. The premier Indian space agency has proved to be a cash cow, earning Rs 1,245 crore by launching satellites from 26 different nations in the last five years. ISRO generated revenue worth Rs 324.19 crore in the fiscal year 2018-2019 which is a near 40% jump from its earnings of Rs 232.56 crore in 2017-2018.
Adding a feather to its hat, ISRO earned India foreign exchange worth Rs 91.63 crore in 2018-19. Contracts with 10 countries –US, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Japan, Malaysia, Algeria, Canada, Singapore and France – were signed under commercial arrangements in the last five years. So far, India has launched 319 foreign satellites since 1999. The information was tabled in Rajya Sabha by Union Minister for Atomic Energy and Space Dr. Jitendra Singh.
ISRO successfully launched its PSLV48 (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) carrying India’s Earth Observation Satellite RISAT-2BR1 and 9 commercial satellites on December 11. PSLV-C48 is the 50th mission of PSLV and carried satellites of Israel, Italy, Japan and USA as co-passengers along with RISAT-2BR1. These international customer satellites have been launched under a commercial arrangement with New Space India Limited. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is, by far, the most experienced launcher in India. This third-generation launch vehicle by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully propelled Chandrayaan-1 and Spacecraft of the Mars Orbiter Mission out of Earth’s powerful gravity in 2008 and 2013 respectively.
ISRO's overall market share in the global satellite launch industry is near 2%. US space company SpaceX, founded and owned by billionaire Elon Musk, holds the lion's share in the market. However, ISRO has dedicated a lot of efforts in innovation for low-cost satellite launches with its workhorse PSLV. Readying itself to exploit a growing market of small satellite launches in the world, ISRO is developing a Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), or mini-PSLV, whose maiden test-flight is due in the first quarter of 2020.