Setting up of a new company under the department of space, has been approved by the Union Cabinet, to commercially exploit the research and development work of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
Commenting on this decision, ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said, “The main objective of this new company will be to act as a mediator or link between ISRO and the industry, and facilitate the transfer of ISRO Technologies to private companies. Till now, ISRO had to directly engage with private companies and oversee the entire process of the technology transfer.” He said the new company “will be set up under Department of Space and will be based in Bangalore. It will have a new CMD.” He said the role of this new company will be different from Antrix, ISRO’s commercial arm as the latter is only involved in commercial launches of foreign satellites.
ISRO programmes like the small satellite, small satellite launch vehicle (SSLV) or mini-PSLV programme, and polar satellite launch vehicle, would be commercially exploited by the new company. The company would therefore, focus on facilitation of the marketing of space-based products and spin-off technologies and products, both in India and abroad.
“We wanted a mechanism to transfer the technologies of our new projects like SSLV and even lithium-ion cells. With this company, ISRO will be able to smoothly transfer these technologies after charging fees. Once companies start mass production of small satellites and launchers, ISRO will be charging them for using its launch services”, said K. Sivan.
On ensuring about the companies for not compromising with the quality of the space components, K. Sivan said, “Space law is being readied. The Cabinet will soon take it up for approval. This space law will define everything related to space components and services. It will also have provisions related to the accountability of manufacturers for its space components.”
ISRO has been developing SSLV vehicle, for over a year, which is a mini launcher. SSLV and mini-PSLV can be assembled in 3-4 days as compared to 40 days for a normal-size rocket. “The first test of SSLV, which will be used to launch small satellites weighing less than 500kg, is due in July-August. Once it is test proven after the two-test flights, we have decided to transfer its technology to the industry,” said Sivan. ISRO plans to carry two defence satellites of 120kg each during the first test-flight of SSLV.
By this decision of Union Cabinet, the Private Sector would be definitely encouraged to indulge more in production of small launchers and satellites. ISRO is already working on this direction. Last month, it had signed a MoU with its strategic partners, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. and L&T for production of industry-made PSLV.