ISRO creates a space for the private industry, to collaborate for 27 satellites

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  • Indian Space Research Organisation has officially signed a tender with two private firms and one public enterprise to assemble and launch 27 satellites over the next three years.
  • It’s even created a facility specifically for the public-private collaboration at the ISRO Spacecraft Integration Test Establishment (ISITE).
  • If the collaboration is successful, reports state that the contract could be extended for another two years resulting in 18 more satellites.
It was late last year that Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched on its endeavour to rope in more private participation for building and launching satellites to boost activity. Come 2018, the Indian space agency has finalised on three companies to assemble 27 satellites over the span of the next three years.

The Spacecraft Assembly Integration and Testing (AIT) activities are now going to be outsourced to Alpha Design consortium, Tata Advanced systems and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). Between the one public entity and two private players, the satellite will be developed using subsystems from the ISRO supply chain.

Rather than dealing with a scattered supply chain, the agency has put together a space just for the public-private partnership. These three firms will be working out of the ISRO Spacecraft Integration Test Establishment (ISITE) in Bangalore.

Each firm has been allocated with the responsibility of completing nine satellites each year. The satellites are homogenous with some meant for communication while others will help with imaging and meteorological capabilities.

Reports state that if the three-year endeavour is successful, the contract has a clause that allows an extension for another two years which would mean 18 more satellites.

In comparison the handful of launches that ISRO has in one year, the organisation wants to meet the demand for 16-18 satellites going up annually. And, though this project won’t allow ISRO’s capabilities to reach that level, it will still increase the amount of launches to seven to nine satellites per year.

The main obstacle for ISRO, so far, has been that their in-house capabilities are limited, which is why offloading the some aspects of the production cycle to private players could optimise the satellite launch processes.

(Representative image)

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