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. Astrium ties up with India's space agency

by Staff Writers
Hyderabad, India (AFP) Sept 25, 2007
Astrium, a unit of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, announced Tuesday that India's space agency will assemble satellites for some launch customers under a new tie-up.

The Bangalore, southern India-based Indian Space Research Organisation will build two satellites, one for France-based Eutelsat to be launched by Astrium in the last quarter of 2008, and the other for Britain's Avanti due for lift-off in 2009.

"These satellites will be integrated, assembled and tested in Bangalore," Astrium's chief executive officer Francois Auque told reporters on the sidelines of the astronautics congress under way in Hyderabad, southern India.

Astrium's regional export director Ghislain de la Sayette said the twin deals, under an agreement reached with ISRO's marketing arm Antrix Corp., were worth "many tens of million dollars," but refused to be more specific.

The company will also market India's "cost-effective platforms" to other launch customers in Europe, and offer India's earth observation services to its clients in the US, Auque said.

India, which has designed, developed and put in orbit its own satellites for communication, weather prediction and earth mapping, is trying to reap commercial benefits from its four-decade-old space programme.

Astrium designs, develops and produces Ariane launchers, the Columbus laboratory and the ATV cargo vessel for the orbital international space station, and French ballistic missiles. It also manufactures satellite systems.

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