As a first step towards hand holding the Indian industry to make satellites, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has issued contract to a consortium of six companies to build two remote sensing satellites. ISROwill pay an undisclosed amount to the consortium for building two satellites to its specifications in next 18 months, said a senior official.
The companies like Alpha Design Technologies, Newtech Solutions, Aidin Technologies, Avantel Systems, DCX Cables, VINAYAS Technologies are the consortium partners. Alpha, which has already been working with some defence projects and aerospace projects, will be the lead partner of the consortium. This is part of ISRO’s effort to hand over the works of making complete standard satellites for future use.
So far, firms such as Avasara Technologies, L&T and Godrej have supplied components and systems for the satellites that ISRO builds to hurl into space. ISRO Satellite Centre’s (ISAC’s) Director M Annadurai said that the total period given to them to build the two satellites is around 18 months from now.
“Now we have got good number of industries which has interest in the segment. The people who have gone through this process will have one more chance to express their interest for the next project, but that will be a different satellite,” he said. For the first two satellites, the final rundown to the selection of consortium had 17 industries participating.
The work assigned to the consortium includes assembly of the electrical and mechanical hardware, testing and lining the satellite to launch. The basic software both on board and the ground part are already available, which could be used by the private player while testing the satellite to get the data and put the trending and report to us properly.
The private players will be using all ISRO infrastructure and will also provide training to them, while the ownership will remain with ISRO. There are two basic thoughts working behind the decision to outsource the manufacturing of satellite outside, said Annadurai.
If Isro keep on making satellites, it will lose the R&D edge, since most of the scientists have to spend their time in making the satellite than doing actual research. By roping in industries to make satellites, this will ease the burden. This will also result in emergence of a set of industries which could work on the global space market, to take up orders from overseas and make satellites ensuring high quality, a model which Nasa has developed in United States.
Once ISRO standardise a satellite, it will handover the process to the industry, which they can replicate to make more satellites. ISRO will be paying the consortium to do the first two satellite, to start with. Later, there is a possibility that it can get orders from global players to make satellites.
Thus, Indian aerospace industry can become a global player in a big way. NASA has also brought industry through this model. Another advantage along with ISRO able to look at larger projects such as Aditya and Chandrayan, rather than spending resources on the routine works.
The quality consciousness of industries working in the aerospace industry, across the world, goes up. Their quality will be another edge when going for global projects.
The consortium will be working under Isro’s supervision, within Isro premises only and there would be adequate measures to ensure security. The raw material for these two satellites will be sourced and provided by Isro. Gradually there should be an improvement upon the raw material supply also, from the industry.