Combining the expertise of a consortium of six Indian companies that are based in Bengaluru, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has signed their first contract for a new spacecraft.
Signed late last week by M. Annadurai, the director of ISRO Satellite Center (ISAC), and the consortium lead, Alpha Design Technologies P. Ltd., the assembly, integration and testing (AIT) of two space navigation satellites within 18 months comprises the contract. The ISAC is responsible for the assembly of communication, navigation and remote sensing satellites for India.
The consortium is expected to manufacture approximately a dozen spacecraft within the 300 to 500 kg category within the first two years, with an expected buyback from ISRO and the built satellites possibly for export, according to a report within The Hindu online infosite. This is the first time ISRO will be outsourcing complete satellites to the industry.
About 70 personnel will be trained by the ISAC from the six companies over the coming days as the first satellite build is initiated and is expected to be completed within nine months or so. According to Col. H.S. Shankar (retired), the CMD of Alpha Design, the second satellite will be constructed entire by his firm and from the second year on, four to five small to medium sized satellites each year must be provided by the consortium.
ISRO Chairman A.S.Kiran Kumar has frequently spoken about a backlog of satellite production in the to meet increasing demands; the need is to double the number if ISRO is to meet the requirements of all of the organizatin's users in communication, remote-sensing and new navigation satellites. The space agency has already hosted a few vendor meetings to find partners to build the needed satellites.
According to Col. Shankar, over the next two years his company plans to invest Rs. 150 crore to establish new, dedicated facilities near ISRO's Spacecraft Integration Test Establishment (ISITE) in Marathhalli, with Rs. 20 crore already committed for the next 18 months of work.
The other companies included in this Indian manufacturing consortium include Newtech Solutions; Aidin Technologies and DCX Cables from Bengaluru; Vinyas Technologies from Mysuru and Avantel Systems of Hyderabad.
Story source: The Hindu