ISRO asks private companies to ramp up PSLV production to put more satellites into space

There’s a conference in Bengaluru on April 21 in which heads of over 25 industries and top Indian space scientists will be participating. Companies will be given the opportunity to form a consortium to manufacture and fly the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). PSLV launched 28 non-Indian satellites from 2013 to 2015 earning $101 million in commercial launch charges. After a partial failure in 1997, the PSLV had 31 consecutive successful launches.

With increased cash flow as more nations and organizations decide to launch their satellites through PSLV, ISRO is looking at increasing the number of flights to put more satellites into space and privatize the rocket.

The Chairman of Indian Space and Research Organization, A.S. Kiran Kumar said they had limited capacity to launch the PSLV. ISRO wants industries to make a consortium to manufacture PSLV and do satellite launches. The organization’s aim is to have 12 PSLV flights per year and increase it up to 18 and subsequently 24 in a year.

He added that the participation of private companies would establish more than a single reliable supply chain for all kinds of components as well as sub-systems needed for PSLV to maintain the number of flights.

ISRO is attempting to work with various industries so that there is more than a single candidate for each component. In order to increase the frequency of launches, ISRO has begun construction of one more facility for constructing PSLV at Satish Dhawan Space Center (SDS) in Sriharikota. The facility will be completed later this year.

Some folk in ISRO said though organizations such as Godrej & Boyce as well as Larsen & Toubro have been collaborating with the space organization in the production of rockets and satellites, the April 21st conference would give a chance to other private companies to come aboard the consortium to manufacture and fly the PSLV. This would help compete for worldwide aerospace as well as defense contracts running into billions of dollars.

A few of the 120 private companies that supplied components as well as subsystems for ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) have utilized their economical, high-tech know how to bid for lucrative global contracts.

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Mary Woods

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