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 launchservices, NSIL is also actively pursuing the new policy change toprovide space-based services on "demand driven basis", a shift from thecurrent supply driven model, he said.
"Towards this we are in discussions withseveral users to ascertain their demands and shortly you will hearfrom us regarding firm agreements for building and launching of satellites through NSIL and providing services primarily in thecommunication sector for the end customer", he said.
Asked if NSIL has any plans to buildsatellites 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 spacereforms, the company will shortly enter into realising of satellites too. According to him, whilethe initial focus will be on driving the change nationally from supply-driven to demand- driven model in the domestic market, NSIL is not averseto taking up these activities for other countries. "In the long run wewill 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 (whichcould be consortium of companies or a company) to undertake end-to-endproduction of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), which is ISRO's workhorse rocket. "We expect to complete this complex process inabout six to eight months. Once the Indian industry partner is identified, I am confident that they will be in a position to deliver an entirelybuilt PSLV in about two to three years with appropriate hand holding fromISRO", 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 areasare 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 areasfrom ISRO to them. "This will definitely help them play anincreasing role in the emerging space markets both nationally andglobally. So far, we have entered into 14 such technology transfer agreements and you will see much more such transfers in the days tocome", 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 capacityglobally. 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 globalmarket in terms of pricing, reliability, and competitiveness, Narayanan said ISROs capabilities in space needs no explanation at this time. Frominnovative, and ingenious initiatives ISRO could capture theappreciation of the world including that of premier space agencies forits capabilities to undertake the most complex missions with ease, he said.
"NSIL by virtue of having access to commercially exploit India''s suchcapabilities 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.