India: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is finalising plans to get two spare navigation satellites of its IRNSS fleet built by industry in the next two years. It will handhold industry for the first project and build it by March 2017. The second one will be built entirely by industry, M. Annadurai, Director of ISRO Satellite Centre, said on Thursday. Both will be 1,400-kg spares kept ready on ground.
“We plan to have a consortium of industry to do the two navigation satellites. The rest of the seven navigation satellites are in orbit,” Dr. Annadurai told The Hindu.
ISRO will lend its infrastructure and expertise while industries bring on the hardware for the satellites that will back up the Indian regional navigation spacecraft, sometimes called the ‘Indian GPS’. Expressions of interest were called in June and ISRO is discussing the nitty-gritty of risks, price and profit sharing with prospective partners.
Dr. Annadurai said ISRO plans to go to the next level and issue the request for proposal — the technical bid — “in weeks” to interested companies from both, public and private sectors. The bids are planned to be evaluated and a final consortium to be identified by October, so that the spacecraft can be ready by March 2017. The second spacecraft is aimed for a year thereafter, but will be built by industry using ISRO’s designs and under its watch.
ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said at the World Space Biz conference earlier that there was an urgency to double the number of satellites ISRO launches for a variety of uses.