India to privatise some ISRO functions

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India State Research Organsation (ISRO) said last week that it wasn’t going to be privatised. But that hasn’t stopped plans to bring the private sector into many of its current functions.

India’s government is now creating a batch of changes and reforms which will result in greater participation of India’s creative public sector and industries in space-related activities. A formal Space Activities Bill is at an advanced stage of approval.

ISRO will continue to focus on developing new technologies but will be required to share its facilities with the private sector.

The country’s existing policies for Satcoms and Remote Sensing are under revision, while a new Navigation policy is being formulated.

ISRO’s commercial enterprise, NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL) will be expanded to “own operational launch vehicles, satellites and services” as well as providing launch services for customer satellites. NewSpace India will build launch vehicles using Indian industry, and the government’s scope will enable NSIL to “act as a satellite operator”.

ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said: “The government’s role will be limited to providing technical know-how to enable [the private sector] to carry out its activity. This will enable ISRO to better utilise its resources.”

However, the plans have yet to be fully approved and it is always possible that the plans will be modified and perhaps toned down.


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