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For the first time, ISRO teams up with private sector to build satellites

Bangalore-based defence equipment supplier Alpha Design Technologies is working to make the first satellite in six months.

In a new development, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is looking to team up with companies in the private sector to build multi-crore, heavy duty satellites. This is a monumental occasion as after three decades and 150 missions, Indian space establishment is looking outside for help. The partnership is reportedly a result of ISROs struggle to keep pace with satellite fabrication, which prompted it to enlist the private sector’s help.

“Basically there is a gap between what we are capable of doing now versus what we are supposed to make,” said M Annadurai, Director of ISRO Satellite Centre in Bangalore, in a PTI report. He added, “There is a gap between the requirement and our capability. That gap we want to fill up with support from the industry… 16 to 17 satellites we have to make every year. So it is a really-really quantum jump and to fill that gap…, we thought the industry could come in.”

The first in line to be part of this venture is a consortium led by Alpha Design Technologies, a Bengalore-based defence equipment supplier. According to a PTI report, the company will be making two satellites for India’s navigation system. A team comprising as many as 70 engineers is working on completing the first satellite within the next six months.

The consortium is being led by Colonel H S Shankar, Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the Rs 400 crore company. Colonel Shankar in a PTI report said, “It is a challenging task for any Indian company to undertake assembly, integration and testing of a satellite and that too for the first time in India.” This will also be a test for the ISRO, as it will have to guide and mentor the private industry and take it through the process of building a state-of-the art, fully functional satellite.

Although the NAVIC or the Swadeshi GPS system already has seven satellites in orbit and is completely operational, ISRO wants to have two spare satellites on standby so that they have a fallback option in case of any kind of unforeseen occurrences. With these kind of partnerships India is encouraging a space ISRO is actively working on creating a space industry in the private sector. 

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