ISRO seeks to rope in pvt sector

ISRO seeks to rope in pvt sector

ISRO seeks to rope in pvt sector

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) aims to undertake 60-70 satellite vehicle launch programmes in the next five years including PSLV launches by private operators in order to make up the deficiency in the number of satellites, ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar said.

"Currently there are 42 satellites providing various services. But we need more than double that number. In the next 5-6 years, we envisage 60-70 (rocket) launches for our requirement. For a bigger pie in the world space market, we need bigger industry participation," he said.

ISRO seeks to set up a joint venture company with a consortium of industries. "The launch of the first PSLV on behalf of this JV is likely around 2020-21," Kumar said.

PSLV or polar satellite launch vehicle is ISRO's mainstay carrier that undertook 41 missions so far with only two failures, the last one being in August 2017. Two more PSLV missions are planned in December 2017 and in the first quarter of 2018.

The PSLV has launched so far 209 international customer satellites on commercial basis from 28 countries

Now the space agency envisages handing over the PSLV programme to a bunch of private operators, replicating a practice followed in USA and Europe. While a dialogue has been initiated with the industry, ISRO is yet to obtain the government clearance to form the joint venture company.

"ISRO being a government organisation, we may take some time between airing our intention and realising it," Kumar said at a FICCI seminar on Monday.

The private sector, he continued, could make an effort to enter the "space tourism" segment, which was beyond ISRO's mandate.

Asked about the future inter-planetary missions, Kumar said that Aditya-L1 – the space probe to study the Sun – would be launched in 2019 whereas missions to the Venus, an asteroid and the second mission to the Mars were in the study phase and no decisions had been taken on their launch.

The ISRO chairman also made it clear that the human space flight programme was not a priority for the space agency.