New Delhi: A private entity, Bengaluru-based Newspace India Limited, has been set up under the Department of Space to aid the transfer of ISRO technologies for commercial purposes. The company was incorporated on March 6 with Radhakrishnan Durairaj and Suma Devaki Ram as directors and a paid-up capital of Rs 10 crore.
This has come after the Union cabinet last month cleared the establishment of such a company to commercially exploit the research and development work of the space agency. This includes the small satellite programme, the small satellite launch vehicle (SSLV) programme and the polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV).
K. Sivan, the chairperson of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told Times of India that the said entity will be a link between ISRO and the industry and help transfer its technologies to private firms for a fee.
While the space agency currently has a commercial arm – Antrix Corporation Limited – according to Sivan, Newspace India will play a different role since Antrix is solely involved in commercial launches of foreign satellites.
As per Antrix’s website, the company “promotes and commercially markets the products and services emanating from the Indian Space Programme.”
Other than commercially exploiting the tech transfer of SSLV, PSLV programmes and lithium-ion cells etc, Newspace India is also meant to market space-based products – in India and abroad.
“Once companies start mass production of small satellites and launchers, ISRO will be charging them for using its launch services,” Sivan explained.
Writing for Times of India, Surendra Singh noted that setting up this company will encourage the private sector to play a greater role in the production of small launchers as well as satellites.
According to Sivan, till now, ISRO has been directing engaging with private companies as well as overseeing the process of transfer of technology – for example of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre-developed lithium-ion (Li-ion) cell technology. According to a January 2019 release on ISRO’s website, ten industries were selected for the transfer of Li-ion cell technology.