NEW DELHI — The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) plans to support its indigenous space technology industry to make launch vehicles and communication satellites.
“If industry takes up launch vehicles and satellites through a consortium and [working] with ISRO, it will benefit all of us in several ways. ISRO could focus on more challenging tasks,” according to ISRO chief K. Radhakrishnan.
Since space missions have become a lucrative business for private industry, and in order to meet the huge demand for satellite services, “in the next two years, we need to work the with industry on this in a mission mode and show the new face of Indian space industry,” he says.
“ISRO would like to sit on one side and look at Indian Space Industry Consortia [to] take leadership in niche areas of operational and launch vehicle systems. If we fail to move into such a production regime now, we will feel the pinch in the next decade,” Radhakrishnan said recently.
ISRO has sketched out future scenarios and concluded that India’s operational launch vehicles — currently the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and in the future the Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle or GSLV-Mk III — could be produced by Indian industry.
“In the future, operational launch vehicles such as the PSLVs, GSLVs and GSLV Mark III could be produced by the industry, starting from basic raw materials to actual launch,” he says.
Radhakrishnan suggests studying the relationships between European and U.S. space agencies and their respective supporting industries.
“There are 20 big companies in theconsortium and in the U.S., has a large number of industries connected to space technology working with it,” Radhakrishnan says.
“This has led them to achieve big-time success. We can also achieve this with active participation of the industry, at least to a smaller extent,” he says.
The national space agency and the Confederation of Indian Industry are already in talks to kick-start intensive industry participation in space technology.
Radhakrishnan says he expects several industry consortia to emerge in the country in the next two years to make raw materials, components and subsystems for space hardware.
With another 10 missions lined up until September 2013, Radhakrishnan says ISRO and the Indian industry consortia can perform that many missions in a year. “We are looking at a target of 10 to 12 missions a year,” he says.
ISRO expects to launch 60 space missions over the next five year.