Indian space agency, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has always been a boon in disguise for tech startups in the country. From having 17 million gigabytes of precious geo-spatial data to opening up its indigenous technology of lithium-ion batteries to local startups, ISRO now no longer an introvert government agency as it used to be. It now poses a great opportunities for companies especially startup ventures to make use of space agency's offerings, which not just have business value attached to it but also carry one or more social value proposition.

In a latest from ISRO, the state-run space agency and its commercial wing, Antrix Corporation, have just announced that they are willing to outsource manufacturing of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) so that ISRO could focus on its most ambitious human space programme called Gaganyaan.

In an interview to news agency IANS, Rakesh Sasibhushan, who is Antrix Chairman & Managing Director, said, "There is big money to make in the space business for Indian corporates. We do not mind whether it is Tatas, Birlas, Ambanis or someone else, as there is no dearth of big corporates in India to invest in the space industry."

A week ago, ISRO also held discussions with a consortium of industries regarding PSLV industrialization with the objective of easing ISRO to focus on Gaganyaan programme and its research & development activities. Big business houses such as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Larsen & Tubro and Godrej were among those who took part in the discussions.

According to Sasibhushan, Indian space business has driven solely by the ISRO as India Inc was not looking at space as a business because it does not possess much business or money generating propositions. But now everything is poised to change as ISRO's commercial arm is all set to open up its space-based business activities for private players. Moreover, the scientific milestones achieved by ISRO have also created an atmosphere of excitement in Indian industry, especially the aerospace companies domain, who is willing to expand their business in Space segment due to the fairly large commonalities in these two areas.

Also Read - ISRO To Take On SpaceX With Its Own Smart and Reusable Rockets

"As ISRO’s programmes (launches and satellites) are primarily meant for societal and the country’s needs in the civilian and defence sectors, the spare capacity is small for commercial needs. We hope the private industry will come forward to drive the commercial space and grow the business." said Sasibhushan.

The small satellite service was a US$18 billion market growing at 2-3 per cent annually and ISRO is looking at 50-60 launch vehicles per year, said Sasibhushan, adding that ISRO, through Atrix, is looking at a revenue of around Rs 1,500 crore to Rs 2,000 crore per year.

Just two months back, ISR signed a deal with Bangalore-based startup Alpha Design and a consortium of six small and medium-sized enterprises, which will assemble, integrate and test ISRO's independent regional navigation satellites aka IRNSS satellites.

Last year, ISRO reached a significant milestone with 158 missions including 62 launch vehicles and 90 satellites.

According to a recently released report, the Space industry is valued at whopping $360 billion in 2018 and projected to grow at a CAGR of 5.6% to value $558 billion by 2026.

Demand for nano-satellites and re-usable launch vehicle systems is anticipated to be driven by the massive investment made by countries like US, China, Russia and the European Union in the development of next generation satellite systems and the large scale procurement of such systems by countries like Saudi Arabia, India, Japan and South Korea. The United States is the largest spender in the domain with China, European Union, India, Russia, Japan and South Korea anticipated accounting for the bulk of spending.

News sourced from Economic Times.

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