Indian space sector’s first half eventful outside the launch pad

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By Venkatachari Jagannathan

Chennai, June 25 (IANS): The first half of 2022 for the Indian space sector has been eventful largely outside the rocket launch pads, such as the selection of the HAL-L&T consortium to manufacture PSLV rockets, the signing of the agreement with OneWeb to put into orbit their small satellites and move forward in relation to India. first manned space mission.

In terms of satellite launches, ISRO successfully orbited its latest “eye in the sky”, the EOS-04 radar imaging satellite formerly known as RISAT-1A.

Later, the European Space Agency‘s Ariane 5 rocket launched India’s GSAT-24 communications satellite into orbit while ISRO’s PSLV rocket is expected to orbit three foreign satellites on June 30.

These apart, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) secured S. Somanath as its new Chairman, the inauguration of India’s National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe) – the regulator of private-sector space actors-office in Gujarat, are the other notable events.

In the private sector, rocket manufacturing startups tested their engines and also raised funds while satellite maker Syzygy Space Technologies Pvt Ltd, commonly known as Pixxel, launched its first satellite with Space X’s rocket.

However, space sector reform measures such as finalization of policies, foreign direct investment (FDI) standards, space insurance, and passage of the Space Activities Bill have not taken place.

Russia’s military action in Ukraine has benefited ISRO and its commercial arm NewSpace India Ltd with OneWeb, a joint venture between India Bharti Global and the British government which decided to use Indian rockets to launch their satellites.

The first launch with New Space India is scheduled for 2022 from Satish Dhawan Space Center (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.

“This is yet another historic day for collaboration in space, thanks to the shared ambition and vision of New Space India Ltd (NSIL) and OneWeb. This latest agreement on launch plans adds tremendous momentum to the development of OneWeb’s network, as we work together across the space industry toward our common goal of connecting communities globally,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, Executive Chairman of OneWeb.

Space sector experts previously told IANS that US and European economic sanctions against Russia for its war on Ukraine could create economic opportunities for India’s space sector, instead of it. impose an economic cost.

They also said that to take advantage of the opportunities, India should ramp up its satellite launch capabilities and announce Productivity Linked Incentive (PLI) programs for the aerospace sector.

In April, the NSIL said the Hindustan Aeronautics and L&T consortium had proven to be the lowest bidder to manufacture five PSLV-XL rockets.

According to a manager, the remaining activities should be completed in a few months, if all goes well.

“The first PSLV-XL rocket is expected to be completed in 24 months from the date of contract award. Thereafter, one rocket every six months is to be delivered to NSIL,” the official told IANS.

NSIL will also issue an Expression of Interest (EOI) for the manufacture of ISRO’s small rocket – Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) – which is under development.

Then there will be the EOI for the manufacture of ISRO’s heavier rocket, the Mk III Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-MkIII), the official added.

Other notable events are:

-ISRO has successfully completed the cryogenic engine qualification test for its ambitious Gaganyaan/human space program.

-India’s space agency also successfully launched the high-thrust Vikas engine to power India’s first rocket that would carry humans, and also successfully tested the solid-fuel engine of its small rocket under development.

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