Isro to outsource satellite manufacturing to private companies

MUMBAI: Now that it has been building and launching satellites for decades now, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has decided to outsource its technology to private companies to help them develop satellites. Isro wants to concentrate on research and deep space missions.

The space organisation had earlier floated a tender to jointly manufacture a satellite and it has already received 40 responses. This move is being talked about as a first step by Isro to outsource its technology to serve domestic and international needs for satellite capacity.

Based on its demand for space communications, India and Isro need to launch a satellite a month for the next five years or so. Some will be needed to replace ageing satellites, some will be new birds. There has been a great deal of demand from India’s DTH operators for capacity as they race to have enough transponders to deliver the spate of TV channel launches.

Isro has stated that it will be handholding, jointly building, testing and certifying at least two nagivation satellites in the short term. Amongst the companies it is targeting include Planet Labx, Terra Labs, Spire Global, all of whom are its clients for whom it has launced satellites using its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

For Isro, a few firms based in Silicon Valley such as Planet Labs, Terra Labs and Spire Global are customers of Isro, using Isro launchers to hurl their satellites into space. Now, Isro is looking to expand the relationship with them and other firms like SpaceX to make satellites locally in India.

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