Monday, November 2, 2009

ISRO to outsource rocket-work to private companies

Among the very first public releases from the American-made Moon Mineralogy Mapper on-board India's first lunar orbiter Chandrayaan-1, earlier this year, unveils the permanently darkened interior of Haworth. Though plagued with thermal conductivity issues that eventually terminated the mission prematurely, most of the ambitious plans for the probe were fulfilled. Chandrayaan was launched aboard the ISRO's on only the second flight of the PLSV booster, establishing a well-earned reputation for India's hard-won capabilities. A decision to outsource future missions therefore comes as somewhat of a surprise. [NASA/ISRO/Chandrayaan]

Peerzada Abrar
Economic Times

Bangalore - For the first time since the success of India's maiden unmanned moon mission, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is ready to outsource more high-end work to private companied - everything from building more complicated systems to assembly.

According to aerospace industry officials and others familiar with the discussions, proposals are being readied wherein private participation will be invited to build and run competing systems.

The commercial-aerospace industry is now eager to play a larger role in the space missions and tap the outsourcing work offered by ISRO which has an annual budget of $1.01 billion for 2009-2010. It has a spending blueprint of Rs 12,400 crore ($3 billion) for its manned space exploration and around Rs 425 crore will be spent for the second unmanned lunar mission — Chandrayaan-2. It also has huge spending plans for missions to Mars and various domestic and international satellite launches.

This is particularly relevant as India has now stepped up the number of satellites it sends into space. ISRO's senior space scientist George Koshy who had also worked on Chandrayaan-1 as mission director for PSLV, says: "Earlier, we used to do one launch in two-three years. Now, we do tree-five PSLV launches alone in a year. For that, we need more low-cost manpower and better collaborations.” Koshy says the confidence other countries are reposing on Indian capability to make good satellites is increasing and they need more private partners to share the work load. "We work at just 15-20% of the cost spent by the US on their missions,” he says.

Read the rest of the story, HERE.

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