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ISRO’s commercial arm NSIL bags 4 more contracts, eyes satellite deals

PTI, Mar 10, 2021, 3:57 PM IST

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Bengaluru: ISRO’s commercial arm NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) has bagged four more dedicated launch service contracts even as it plans to pursue satellite building deals.

NSIL launched its first dedicated commercial mission on February 28, orbiting Brazilian satellite Amazonia-1 from Sriharikota spaceport of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

“We currently have four more dedicated launch service contracts, which will be executed in the coming two to three years,” NSIL’s Chairman and Managing Director G Narayanan told PTI in an interview.

Apart from launch services, NSIL is also actively pursuing the new policy change to provide space-based services on ‘demand driven basis’, a shift from the current supply driven model, he said.

“Towards this we are in discussions with several users to ascertain their demands and shortly you will hear from us regarding firm agreements for building and launching of satellites through NSIL and providing services primarily in the communication sector for the end customer”, he said.

Asked if NSIL has any plans to build satellites for other countries, in addition to providing launch services at present, Narayanan said on the basis of its new mandate obtained as part of the space reforms, the company will shortly enter into realising of satellites too.

According to him, while the initial focus will be on driving the change nationally from supply-driven to demand- driven model in the domestic market, NSIL is not averse to taking up these activities for other countries.

“In the long run we will definitely embark on trying to capture market of other countries also in this field (satellite-building)”, Narayanan said.

He also said that NSIL is in the process of identifying an Indian industry partner (which could be consortium of companies or a company) to undertake end-to-end production of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), which is ISRO’s workhorse rocket.

“We expect to complete this complex process in about six to eight months. Once the Indian industry partner is identified, I am confident that they will be in a position to deliver an entirely built PSLV in about two to three years with appropriate hand-holding from ISRO”, he said.

As part of this business initiative, NSIL has proposed to realise five PSLVs through identified Indian industry partner.

“As of now, about 80 per cent of mechanical systems and 60 per cent of electronic systems of PSLV come from the industry. However, the remaining percentages in both the areas are highly complex”, Narayanan said.

The NSIL, he said, is also proactively working to improve the potential of Indian industries by way of technology transfer in several identified areas from ISRO to them.

“This will definitely help them play an increasing role in the emerging space markets both nationally and globally. So far, we have entered into 14 such technology transfer agreements and you will see much more such transfers in the days to come”, the official said.

On the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), he said the compact launcher is being developed by the ISRO as a newer launch-on-demand vehicle for meeting smaller satellite segment capacity globally.

According to sources in Bengaluru-headquartered ISRO, the maiden flight of the SSLV is expected in April.

SSLV is a three-stage all solid vehicle with a capability to launch up to 500 kg satellite mass into 500 km low earth orbit (LEO) and 300 kg to Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

On NSIL’s positioning strategy in the global market in terms of pricing, reliability, and competitiveness, Narayanan said ISROs capabilities in space needs no explanation at this time.

From innovative, and ingenious initiatives ISRO could capture the appreciation of the world including that of premier space agencies for its capabilities to undertake the most complex missions with ease, he said.

“NSIL by virtue of having access to commercially exploit India’s such capabilities in space is highly recognised globally in terms of competence, reliability and cost.

The just-concluded launch contract(Amazonia-1) was won by NSIL through a competitive bidding process and this will speak for itself”, Narayanan added.

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