ISRO Contracts out Satellite Manufacturing to Private Consortium for its Navigation Constellation

Image courtesy of ISRO.

In a move to liberalize the Indian space sector, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has tasked a consortium led by private defence equipment supplier Alpha Design Technologies to manufacture two full satellites.

The timeline is tight; a team of 70 engineers is working towards making a full, flight-ready satellite within 6 months, led by Colonel H S Shankar, Managing Director of Alpha Design Technologies.

Contracting a private firm to manufacture a full satellite is a first for India. So far, all satellites have fully or partially manufactured by ISRO.

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The two satellites will be part of India’s NAVIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) system as backup satellites in case a quick launch is needed. Also known as Swadeshi, the constellation currently consists of 7 functioning satellites in orbit as serves as India’s native GPS system.

With five spacecraft to be launched this year, and 16-17 new satellites manufactured each year by ISRO, the space organization believes that there is a gap in production requirements that can be filled by the private sector.

According to the Deccan Chronicle, M Annadurai, Director of ISRO Satellite Centre in Bengaluru, said, “Basically there is a gap between what we are capable of doing now versus what we are supposed to make. There is a gap between the requirement and our capability. That gap we want to fill up with support from the industry. So it is a really quantum jump and to fill that gap.”


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