The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced its decision to transfer the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) to the private sector, citing the increasing demand for small satellites. This move aims to capitalize on the opportunities in the commercial space sector and boost India’s space industry. ISRO has opted for the bidding process to facilitate the complete transfer of the SSLV, including manufacturing rights, to private companies.
The SSLV is specifically designed to cater to the needs of nanosatellites weighing less than 10 kg and micro-satellites weighing less than 100 kg. By offering on-demand launch services, the SSLV eliminates the need for clients to wait for larger rockets to accommodate their satellites as co-passengers.
In a significant development, ISRO had previously awarded a contract to a consortium comprising Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Larsen and Toubro for the construction of five polar satellite launch vehicles. These rockets have been instrumental in ISRO’s successful launches and have established themselves as reliable workhorses.
The decision to transfer the SSLV to the private sector aligns with India’s ambitions to foster a robust domestic space industry. A recent report by the Indian Space Association and EY India predicts that the commercial satellite launch services sector could contribute a staggering 13 billion US dollars to the Indian economy by 2025. This underscores the immense economic potential and growth opportunities associated with India’s space industry.
By involving the private sector in satellite launch operations, ISRO aims to harness the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation of Indian companies to further enhance the country’s capabilities in space technology. This strategic move not only promotes collaboration but also opens up new avenues for investment and research in the space sector.
As the SSLV transfer process progresses, it is expected to pave the way for increased participation of private players in India’s space endeavors, fostering a thriving ecosystem that will contribute to the country’s scientific advancements and economic prosperity.