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The Indian Space Research Organisation will be launching a satellite for Google’s Sky Box Imaging for GPS maps this year from its spaceport at Sriharikota.
This will be the first US satellite to be launched by Isro.
Google, which has acquired the satellite imaging company Sky Box Imaging, wants to develop precision maps using its own network of 180-odd satellites.
The first among them is Sky Sat Gen II. Sky Box had entered into an agreement with Antrix Corporation before its takeover to launch the 120-kg satellite. It will be flown as a co-passenger along with the main payload during one of the satellite launchings this year. According to senior officials involved in space research, Google is keen on making use of Skybox satellites to keep Google Maps closer to real-time, accurate with up-to-date imagery.
Google is also keen on using Skybox’s team and technology to help improve Internet access and disaster relief, the areas in which the company has long been interested.
Shar director Dr M.Y.S. Prasad said that Sky Box Imaging had approached them to launch one of its satellites and had also informed that they had plans to place 180 micro satellites in orbit. “They may launch experimental satellites before going ahead. Although they want to us to launch a single satellite now, there is potential in future. This is the first US-based satellite being launched by Isro,” Dr Prasad said.
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