ISRO Looks to Private Sector

PSLV rocket lifts off with India's Mars Orbiter Mission. (Credit: ISRO)
PSLV rocket lifts off with India’s Mars Orbiter Mission. (Credit: ISRO)

India’s space agency is looking to hand off more duties to the private sector:

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to magnify the role of its industry partners by starting joint ventures with them and readying them to do entire tasks like satellite launches, its Chairman AS Kiran Kumar has said.

The agency has sounded out its commercial arm, Antrix Corporation, to explore such opportunities for specific projects. Internal teams are being formed to draft a plan, he told The Hindu in a recent interview.

For one, Antrix might form ventures with public or private entities that had already been supplying for the space programme. The extent of financing and equity would be decided later. “We hope to have a clear picture in about a year. We have asked Antrix to identify industries and requirements and have initiated discussions internally,” said Mr. Kiran Kumar, who is also Secretary of the Department of Space.

One reason is the backlog of communication satellites that urgently need indigenous GSLV launchers to put them in space. In mid-May, the government sanctioned 15 smaller PSLV launchers, worth Rs. 3,090 crore, which would be built during 2017-20. The ISRO now plans to do two GSLV launches, one commercial and two to three PSLV launches in a year, all requiring intensive engagement with the industry.