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Indian Space Research Organisation opens up space to private industry

Sriharikota/Mumbai, India, 30 June 2006: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is preparing to throw open its once closely guarded rocket programme to the private industry.

“To start with, we’ll outsource non-critical applications that constitute 50 per cent of the rocket programme to the private sector,” said Dr M Annamalai, Director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota Range. “For certain operations, we’ve invited tenders from the industry. We’ll give you the names (of industries) once the formalities are completed.”

ISRO now plans to outsource a chunk of the work in the manufacture of indigenous rockets — the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) — to the industry. It intends to hand-hold companies through the manufacturing process. Quality control too will rest with ISRO.

Outsourcing would also help ISRO become a serious contender in the global satellite-launch market. “Our launch costs are 30-35 per cent cheaper than foreign launches,” Dr Annamalai said. The long-term objective is to free ISRO engineers and scientists to focus on research and new technologies.