ISRO Throws Satellite Making Open To Private Sector

The private sector will be roped in to help India’s highly guarded fledgling satellite industry. Two days after India launched 20 satellites in space, AS Kiran Kumar, chairman of India’s space research organisation ISRO invited the private sector to make a full spacecraft.  To discuss this, a meeting was held on Thursday with more than 110 aerospace companies in Bengaluru.

So far, private companies have been supplying only components that went into the making of the satellite. Marking a definite start to the new system, a hi-tech Space Park, where the private sector can build satellites, is coming up inside ISRO’s satellite center in Bengaluru.

The opening up of the highly guarded satellite manufacturing sector is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative.

As cellphone and Internet usage grows, putting commercial satellites into space for a fee is becoming a fast growing industry. And India hopes to capture a chunk of this global, multi-billion dollar market with its low-cost satellite programme – the manufacturing cost of satellites in India is estimated to be half of the sum elsewhere.

This is where the private sector can pitch in, says ISRO. If India’s current need for 10-12 satellites every year has to be met, industry has to make complete satellites.

At the meeting, Mr Kumar told delegates that almost all government departments and ministries had shown keen interest in applying space technology to their jobs.

Dr M Annadurai, the director of ISRO’s Satellite Centre, spoke about the need to launch at least 10-12 satellites every year. The goal, he said can be met only by a synergy between ISRO and Industry and such a partnership will be a win-win situation for both.

Expression of Interest, or EOI, for realising spacecraft on an end-to-end basis has already been hosted on ISRO websites, in which the industry has been asked to respond.

Two days ago, ISRO launched 20 satellites in a single mission, which included 17 small satellites from Canada, USA, Indonesia and Germany, launched on a commercial basis. ISRO has already earned over $100 million by launching satellites for 20 countries.

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