ISRO space opens to private players


The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has decided to open up its ‘space’ to the private sector after being a closed government organisation for over 50 years. The first move came when ISRO allowed two satellites developed by private companies to be tested at the UR Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) here.

Satellites from Tamil Nadu-based Space Kidz India and Bengaluru-based Syzygy Space Technologies have undergone testing at URSC, the media quoted sources in URSC. “In both cases, we found problems with solar panels and our team is helping them fix them. URSC also tested UNITYsat, which had problems with the separation system which we’re setting right,” ISRO chairman K Sivan was quoted in the media.

UNITYsat is a combination of three satellites designed and built by Jeppiaar Institute of Technology, Sriperumbudur, GH Raisoni College of Engineering, Nagpur and Sri Shakthi Institute of Engineering and Technology, Coimbatore.

Apart from this, two private firms will test their engines at Sriharikota spaceport and Thiruvananthapuram rocket centre. Agnikul Cosmos of Chennai will be allowed to test its engine at Thiruvananthapuram and Hyderabad-based Skyroot Aerospace’s engine will be tested at Sriharikota.

ISRO has also decided to give its satellite images to a private firm that offers mapping services. MapmyIndia, which builds digital maps and offers GIS services, has approached Isro for high-resolution images – a move that is in tune with the opening up of the space sector to private firms.

Among the 26 proposals under review by the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre are US-based Amazon Web Services and Bharti Group backed UK-based OneWeb.

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