The government told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that India is pursuing a part of the global satellite launch industry and has signed four dedicated launch service contracts with international customers. In a written response, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh said, “With the emergence of global broadband communication needs, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) envisages launches of several of these foreign satellites onboard ISRO SSLV, PSLV, and GSLV-MkIII.”
India’s newest launch vehicle, the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), is designed to deliver smaller satellites into low-earth orbit. Its maiden test flight is scheduled for May.
ISRO successfully tested the newly built solid booster stage (SS1) for SSLV on the ground earlier this month. According to Singh, NSIL, a central public sector company under the Department of Space, has earned 35 million dollars and 10 million euros in foreign exchange revenue over the last three years – 2019-21 – by launching satellites for various commercial and international entities.
He said that in the last three years, NSIL had launched 45 international client satellites on board ISRO’s PSLV and obtained four dedicated launch service contracts for foreign satellite customers.
According to Singh, NSIL is ensuring a better footprint of ISRO’s expertise in building earth observation and communications satellites, providing launch and mission support services, and establishing ground segments for foreign customers to ensure increased foreign exchange revenue earnings for the country by participating in various international conferences and exhibitions.
In response to a second question, Singh stated that the government has opened up the space sector for private participation in end-to-end activities as part of reforms. He added the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) will be the agency in charge of promoting, guiding, and authorizing private sector activity in the space sector, as well as allowing ISRO to share technological facilities and experience.
With the implementation of IN-SPACe, the evolving regulatory environment, and the formation of a space industries association in the form of the Indian Space Association, Singh expects greater private sector participation in end-to-end space activities, potentially increasing India’s share of the global space economy.