GSLV Mark III inaugural flight test. (Credit: ISRO)
The Indian government has been committing funding to the nation’s space agency, ISRO, with the objective of the private sector taking a greater role.
The government committing Rs 10,500 crore [$1.54 billion] to the space agency for building 10 Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and 30 workhorse PSLV rockets over 2019-2024 clearly spells out India’s space ambitions.
But, what has truly far-reaching impact is that the Rs 6,131-crore [$907.4 million] commitment for PSLVs requires Isro to increase industry participation in the rocket programme. To be sure, this is something the space agency has been doing steadily over the recent years—it has already begun technology transfer to an industry consortium that includes Godrej Aerospace, L&T, and even public-sector Hindustan Aeronautics. The consortium that has been contributing rocket systems so far—nearly 80% of the development work on launch vehicles has already been outsourced, though under Isro supervision—will now be involved in rocket assembly at Isro facilities. This will be in keeping with the government-Isro-industry vision of getting the private sector ready for taking over the PSLV programme on an end-to-end basis, coordinated by Antrix, Isro’s commercial arm.
Former Isro chief AS Kiran Kumar had ...