Bengaluru: It’s India Inc’s giant stride all the way into outer space on Thursday.
For, the private sector will ride piggyback on Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) into deep space with the launch of IRNSS-1H, a satellite of the Indian Regional Navigation constellation, and a first in the five-and-a-half decade old space programme.
“This is a new beginning for the private sector,” says Dr Mylswamy Annadurai, director, ISRO’s Satellite Centre (ISAC), adding how his colleagues provided on-the-job training for 70-odd engineers of a consortium led Alpha Design Technologies Ltd, Bengaluru, on integration and testing of the satellite. A similar satellite would be made to ISRO’s exacting standards by the same consortium by April 2018 but with lesser support from ISRO’s engineers and technicians. India Inc’s debut flight into space coincides with an invitation or ‘Expression of Interest’ issued by ISRO to private firms and consortia to sign a contract for manufacture of heavy-duty satellites. “The proposal is to invite Expression of Interest and to enter into contracts with industry for spacecraft assembly, integration and testing of ISRO satellites at ISAC” says the letter sent out to various private enterprises. By supporting the private industry to learn the processes of making satellites, ISRO hopes to create a robust space industry in the private sector, a move which could help the country metamorphose into a multi billion dollar global hub for manufacture and launch of satellites.
And to support the private sector manufacture the smallest component to the complete satellite, a space park would be ready on the outskirts of Bengaluru soon, and where ISRO’s experts would offer a helping hand for rolling out high precision and top quality products.
On the maiden venture of the private sector, Col H.S. Shankar, chairman-managing director of Alpha Design Technologies, says “It has gone off much better than what we had expected (support from ISRO). We were exposed to their precision testing, guidance and fantastic facilities for integration and testing of the satellite and quality assurance. ISRO has a very good documentation system which documents all activities, which can be traced to the persons who conducted the tests.”
We are fully geared up for more responsibility for the second satellite which will be ready for launch within six months.”
He said buoyed by the experience of working with ISRO’s engineers and technicians, the consortium led by his firm would respond to the ‘Expression of Interest’ released by the space agency....