ISRO opens doors to two space start-ups for testing satellites

It is also gearing up for the launch of PSLV C-51 on 28 February.

NEW DELHI: The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has opened its doors to two Indian start-ups to test their satellites at the UR Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru.

Two satellites – one from Bengaluru-based Pixxel (M/s Syzygy Space technologies) and Chennai-based M/S Space Kidz India – underwent testing at the ISRO premises, union minister Jitendra Singh told the Parliament. The premier space agency helped the two start-ups fix certain issues with the solar panels, according to sources.

While SpaceKidz is working on a satellite to study space radiation and has named it after former ISRO chairman Satish Dhawan, Pixxel has developed a remote sensing satellite which it is planning to launch aboard PSLV C-51 later this month.

ISRO has also signed a memorandum of understanding with a leading mapping data company, MapmyIndia, to offer a fully indigenous mapping portal and other geospatial services. Under the partnership, the combined geospatial expertise of the department of space and CE Info Systems which owns MapMyIndia would be leveraged through their geo-portals. The teams will jointly identify and build holistic geospatial solutions utilising India's own navigation system NavIC and APIs available in MapmyIndia and other portals, stated ISRO.

The premier space agency is now days away from its first launch of the year, scheduled to take place on 28 February. ISRO will launch Brazil's first indigenously made satellite Amazonia-1 on board its old warhorse PSLV C-51 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The rocket will carry 20 other passenger satellites. The new launch will be conducted by New Space India Ltd (NSIL), a public sector undertaking under the department of space which looks at commercial launch satellites and is enabling the space agency to become financially self-reliant.

The government has been trying to boost ISRO's collaboration with the private sector through several initiatives under the Atmanirbhar Bharat. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had also announced in May last year that the Indian private sector will be a co-traveller in the country's space sector journey and that the government is planning to provide a level playing field for the private companies and allow tech-companies to access geo-spatial data.

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