ISRO has announced that it will be entering a Joint Venture agreement (JV) with a consortium of around 6 industries to manufacture rockets capable of carrying payloads into space. To this end, the ISRO Chairman, A S Kiran Kumar, said, “We are (currently) using significant amount of things from the industry. If you take launch vehicles (space rockets), 80 per cent of our work, we do with the industry (which are making space-related equipment) today.”
While the exact number of industries in the consortium is yet to be finalized, they would employ a large number of sub-contractors to carry out tasks related to the larger manufacturing process. The JV will determine which industries will be responsible for manufacturing and developing the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) which is to be launched in 2020-2021.
For satellite development, ISRO has contracted the help of another private industry, which is tasked also with assembly, integration, and testing of spacecraft and their compatibility with the PSLV rocket model system.
A S Kiran Kumar is of the opinion that the ISRO ideally would be an agency solely dedicated to research and development of space-worthy crafts and satellites, with the manufacturing, testing, integration, and assembly functions outsourced to the industry. To this end, he says, “It should be an ideal thing to happen in the long run because if the industry is able to do what is required, then definitely it’s a better opportunity for us (ISRO),” adding that, “The participation of the industry in the realization of space systems such as spacecraft, launch vehicles, establishment and operations of ground systems and facilities and implementation of application programs have been steadily growing.”
The employment generated through this has the potential to be enormous, as is the potential for new players in the industry to secure high value contracts.