U.S. Congressman Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, and Rep. Brian Babin, chairman of its space subcommittee, sent letters to Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman and Director of Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren asking about policies regarding the launch of U.S.-built satellites on India Space Research Organization’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles, and how these were developed, reports SpaceNews.
“The administration has provided a number of export waivers on a case-by-case basis for these launches, in part because India is becoming a strategic ally in South Asia,” Babin said at an April 19 hearing of his subcommittee on issues associated with small launch vehicles.
The issue of using PSLVs in India rose because satellite manufacturers in the U.S.are making satellites at a quicker rate than their launch capability. Eric Stallmer, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, said at the April hearing. “The PSLV has a sweet spot and the capability to launch some of these satellites in a timely manner.” While Stallmer opposed any policy change that would provide easier access to PSLV, he added that government waivers on a case-by-case basis for Indian launches is acceptable as “a temporary solution”.