Known for its low-cost satellite launches, India’s space agency ISRO is looking at a consortium for building launch vehicles to enhance its capacity and capture a larger slice of the global space industry, its chief A S Kiran Kumar said today. Kumar emphasised on the building capacity within the organisation as well in the domestic industry. “We are trying to increase the number of launches. We are trying to look at a consortium, a joint venture entity, to build launch vehicles,” Kumar said.
Earlier this year, ISRO launched 104 satellites in one go, using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), its most trusted launcher. With the consortium, ISRO plans to increase the number of PSLVs so that the frequency of launches can match the number of launch vehicles, he said. “It is a question of capacity building to capture a portion of the global market,” Kumar told reporters on the sidelines of an event here. Through its PLSV, the Indian Space Research Organisation has successfully launched foreign satellites at a lower cost.
Kumar said ISRO was also seeking to increase its annual launches to 24, apart from boosting its existing constellation of 42 satellites. “We are trying to increase the frequency of launches so that we can put sufficient infrastructure in place to meet our communication, remotes-sensing, earth observation and navigation requirements. Though we have 42 satellites in the orbit, we need more (satellites),” Kumar said. He said ISRO was also gearing up for its Moon mission- Chandrayaan 2. This would involve releasing a lander on the surface of the Moon. He said the space agency has asked for proposals from the scientific community on the possible programmes that could be launched for its inter-planetary missions for Venus, Mars and some asteroids.
According to the government, the average annual revenue of the international satellite market over the last three years is approximately $200 billion. In 2015-16, Antrix, ISRO’s commercial arm, earned approximately Rs 230 crore through commercial launch services, which is about 0.6 per cent of the global launch service market, Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for the Department of Space, said in a written response to a question in the Rajya Sabha.