Bengaluru: Ready for a ride into space? This question will be posed to the who’s who of Indian industry by top Indian space scientists at a day-long conference in Bengaluru on April 21. Head honchos of more than 25 industries have been invited for the event and would be offered a chance to knit a consortium to build and fly the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
Reason: With cash registers ringing as more countries and organizations opt to launch their satellites onboard PSLV, ISRO plans to step up the number of flights in order to ferry more satellites into space, and in the process privatize the operations of this rocket.
“We are limited by capacity though this (PSLV) is a very good launch vehicle. We want them (industries) to form a consortium to build PSLV and launch satellites. Our target is to have 12 PSLV flights in a year first, then scale it up 18 and even 24 in a year,” A.S. Kiran Kumar, Chairman, ISRO, told Deccan Chronicle.
He said the interaction with captains of industry would also help create more than one reliable supply chain for all types of components and sub-systems required for PSLV in order to maintain the frequency of flights. “We are trying to work with various people (industries) so that we have more than one candidate available for each component,” he added.
And, in line with its plans to increase the number of launches, ISRO has commenced construction of the second facility for assembling PSLV at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDS), Sriharikota Range. “It will be ready later this year,” he added.
Sources in ISRO said though industries such as Larsen & Toubro and Godrej & Boyce have been partnering the space agency in manufacture of satellites and rockets, the forthcoming conference would provide an opportunity for other private enterprises to join the consortium to build and fly the PSLV. This would serve as a launch-pad for those with plans to compete for global aerospace and defence contracts worth billions of dollars.
In fact, some of the 120-odd private firms which provided subsystems and components for ISRO’s successful Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) have used their low-cost, high-tech expertise to bid for megabuck global contracts, sources added.