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27 Satellites in 3 Years: Indian Private Sector Shifts Focus to Space Projects

© REUTERS / P. RavikumarIndia's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C38, carrying Cartosat-2 and 30 other satellites, lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, June 23, 2017
India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C38, carrying Cartosat-2 and 30 other satellites, lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, June 23, 2017 - Sputnik International
A consortium of private firms is expected to assemble 7-9 satellites per year. For the past few years, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has been encouraging the country’s private firms to undertake satellite and rocket manufacturing work so that the agency itself can focus on research.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has signed a three-year agreement with a private sector consortium led by Bangalore-based Alpha Design Technologies to assemble satellites in an attempt to increase the number of launches while building the capacity of the private sector. The other two firms involved in this agreement are Tata Group and state-owned Bharat Electronics Ltd.

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"The consortium will build 1.5-3 ton satellites… meant for imaging, communication, and weather forecasting," a private firm official who wished to remain anonymous told Sputnik. 

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has ended months of dithering and announced the launch of a satellite that will be shared by several member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). As the needs of most South Asian countries is not substantial, India will be hoping that this satellite will encourage them to say no to China’s plan to involve them in a similar initiative. - Sputnik International
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Last year, the ISRO had issued a tender to the private industry to build 30-35 satellites over three years. The ISRO currently undertakes 3-4 launches per year, which it aims to increase to 16-18 satellites. The ISRO has been insisting that it's budget and manpower are not sufficient to increase the number of launches requested by the government.

"Our in-house capacity is limited. So we are looking to offload 30-40% of the work to the private sector," Dr. M Annadurai, director of the ISRO satellite center, said last November.

READ MORE: India to Have Public-Private Aerospace Consortium to Conquer Global Industry

From April 2017 to date, nine satellites were launched by the ISRO, which included four communication satellites, three remote sensing satellites and two navigational satellites. In total, 89 Indian satellites have been successfully launched by the ISRO. In addition, the ISRO has also launched nine student satellites and 237 customer satellites from 28 foreign countries.

India is one of the few space-faring nations that has the capability to design, develop and launch state-of-the-art satellites using indigenously built launch vehicles.



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