For the first time in over five decades of India’s space programme, Isro opened up its facilities to the private sector with two satellites from companies and one from academia being tested in the UR Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) here.
Over the next few months, two private firms will test their engines at Sriharikota spaceport and Thiruvananthapuram rocket centre. Isro will soon give its satellite images to a private firm that offers mapping services.
Sources in URSC said satellites from Tamil Nadu-based Space Kidz India and Bengaluru-based Syzygy Space Technologies have undergone testing.
Isro chairman K Sivan told TOI: “In both cases, we found problems with solar panels and our team is helping them fix them. URSC also tested UNITYsat, which had problems with the separation system which we’re setting right.”
26 proposals under review
UNITYsat is a combination of three satellites designed and built by Jeppiaar Institute of Technology, Sriperumbudur, GH Raisoni College of Engineering, Nagpur and Sri Shakthi Institute of Engineering and Technology, Coimbatore.
Chennai-based Agnikul Cosmos will be allowed to test its engine at Thiruvananthapuram while Hyderabad-based Skyroot Aerospace’s engine will be tested at Sriharikota, Sivan said.
Also, we MapmyIndia, which builds digital maps and offers GIS services, has approached Isro for high-resolution images. These developments are in line with opening up the space sector to private firms.
At least 26 proposals, including those from US-based Amazon Web Services and Bharti Group backed UKbased OneWeb, are being reviewed by Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre.