Indian entrepreneurs eye space! Startups developing prototypes for testing and evaluation

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Published: February 28, 2020 5:14:29 PM

Somnath was delivering the keynote address on "Industry 4.0 - Impact on Jobs" at TRIMA 2020, the annual convention of Trivandrum Management Association (TMA).

"These startups have often approached ISRO with their prototypes for testing and evaluation," he said.“These startups have often approached ISRO with their prototypes for testing and evaluation,” he said. (File image)

Startups are set to play a bigger role in the production of space systems in the industry 4.0 as exploring commercial opportunities for Indian space sector will be crucial by 2050, S Somnath, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), said here on Friday. “Production of rockets through Indian industry will be one of the key changes in 2050. Commercialisation of Indian launch vehicle and satellite capacity will happen in the Industry 4.0 scenario,” he said.

Somnath was delivering the keynote address on “Industry 4.0 – Impact on Jobs” at TRIMA 2020, the annual convention of Trivandrum Management Association (TMA). Industry 4.0 is the trend towards automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies and processes, the Internet of Things (IoT), industrial internet of things (IIOT), cloud computing, cognitive computing and Artificial Intelligence. About 35 startups have already come up in space sector, three of them focused on designing of rockets, 14 in designing satellites and the rest in drone-based applications and services sector.

“These startups have often approached ISRO with their prototypes for testing and evaluation,” he said. “I can’t predict if they are going to be successful in terms of making rockets and launching them. But I wish them success,” the expert said. The vital question before ISRO is if such an important task needs to be handed over to private sector and enable them to handle it, Somnath said adding the space organisation is looking at big companies which are willing to take up the job in terms of manufacturing and supporting the startups.

Foreign firms like Airbus are discussing the possibilities of coming to India and setting up their plants, which is another change that is going to happen in the space sector, the VSSC director noted. G Vijayaraghavan, Founder-CEO, Technopark, who was the moderator of the debate, observed “the pace at which the jobs are changed is going to be ten times the jobs changed in the last 10 years.” Saji Gopinath, CEO, Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), said acquiring special skills and knowledge in the job sector is important while the world shifts to Industry 4.0.

Radhakrishnan Nair, Co-founder and CEO, Smart IOPS, Inc-San Francisco, US, stressed the importance of building ability to adapt to the new job milieu. Over 200 delegates, including industry leaders, management experts, administrators and startup promoters, are attending TRIMA 2020, the annual flagship event of TMA, which began on Thursday. The central theme of the meet is “Work in a changing worldA vision for Kerala.”

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