Indian Space Research Organisation is all set to open a 100-acre Space Park in Bangalore for the private industry to set up manufacturing base of space satellites and sub-systems required for burgeoning space business, while another is being planned near sriharikota, to be in the vicinity of India’s prime Spaceport in Andhra Pradesh.
Speaking at the 103rd Indian Science Congress being held in Mysore on Tuesday, ISRO Satellite Centre Director M. Annadurai told media that the Space Park is coming up near White Field in Bangalore spread over an area of 100 acres. “It is likely to be inaugurated this month,” he told IANS.
The business of space satellites and launches have become the main source of revenue for ISRO and its business arm Antrax worth billions of dollars. It was awarded ‘Miniratna’ status by the government in 2008 and its last fiscal year business had a turnover of Rs. 13 billion, though it ran into controversies over Devas scam.
ISRO depends on state-owned and private Indian firms for the manufacture of components for its satellites and about 80 percent of them are manufactured by about 500 small, medium and large units across the country, which are engaged in supplying structures, subsystems, components and parts.
“The Space Park will also contribute to the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, as the private industry and firms like HAL have been helping us in making rockets and satellites over the years,” Annadurai said.
The satellite centre is also planning to open another similar Space Manufacturers’ Zone in Andhra Pradesh adjacent to Sriharikota, from where all deep space missions from Chndrayaan and Mangalyaan have been launched besides all other launches. The private industry participation will provide satellites from end-to-end, including integration and testing for launching them from its spaceport at Sriharikota, which is 80 km northeast of Chennai.
With a record launch of more than 10 rocket launches in 2015, ISRO is emerging as a major competitor in the space business a-la SpaceX and Orbital in the US. The demand for satellite launches to deploy them in the earth’s lower or geo-stationary orbits for various applications and services is growing exponentially with almost all the nations realizing the need for space communications set up of their own.
“The space industry has to invest and build modular capacity to enable the country to launch as many satellites to meet the growing demand,” said Annadurai.
SPACE BUSINESS: ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix Corporation has 23 satellite launching contracts in hand from foreign countries and it has so far 51 satellites for other countries. Most of its PSLV launches are commercial carrying other countries’ space satellites bringing in more money and business for the ISRO marketing arm Antrix.
Since ISRO is planning to build its workhorse PSLV entirely in private sector, the Space Park will become a reality in the next four years, according to ISRO’s future plans. K Sivan, director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram, recently said industrial contribution has gone up to 70 per cent of the control components being supplied by private industries. ISRO hopes the industry would serve the entire gamut of industry ISRO requirements leaving the core scientists’ team to focus on research and design.