The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has signed a contract to launch the Spot-6 satellite for France-based EADS Astrium.

The agency says Spot-6 will be launched onboard ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) during the second half of 2012. The PSLV, in its “core alone” configuration, will carry other payloads as well.

According to an ISRO official, the commercial launch services agreement between the agency’s commercial arm, Antrix Corp., and Astrium could be worth around 1 billion rupees ($19.53 million). This launch services deal is a part of the long-term agreement signed between Antrix and Astrium in September 2008.

In November 2010, under a commercial contract between Antrix and Astrium, the Hylas advanced communication satellite was built for a European customer.

“In the coming days, further collaboration possibilities between Antrix/ISRO and Astrium will be explored,” the official says.

Meanwhile, the long-serving Insat-2E, the last of the five satellites in the Insat-2 series, has been decommissioned after functioning for a year beyond its anticipated 12-year design life.

Launched on April 3, 1999, onboard the European Ariane 5 launcher, Insat-2E carried 14 C-band and five lower extended C-band transponders for communication services. The satellite also carried a high-resolution radiometer and digital camera for meteorological observation.

The 11 communication transponders of 36-mhz bandwidth onboard Insat-2E were leased to Intelsat, the first such contract from an Indian satellite. Insat-2E was controlled from the Master Control Facility at Hassan in the southern state of Karnataka.