India offers to privatise small satellite launch rocket

The Indian Government’s effort to privatise part of its space programme by opening bids to build its small satellite launch rocket has attracted initial interest from 20 companies.

This bid to take over the manufacturing and development of the SSLV rocket programme was the first privatisation of its kind for India.

India’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) was developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the national space agency, and had its first successful satellite launch in February.

The SSLV was designed as a low-cost means to launch satellites weighing up to 500 kg (1,102 lb) into low-earth orbit, serving a booming market to launch clusters of satellites for communications and data that SpaceX and rivals now serve.

India has recently created a space regulatory body, the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre, known as IN-SPACe, which will open the bidding process on July 11 by allowing qualified companies to register for the process.

As of now, as mentioned above 20 companies had submitted an Expression of Interest (EoI) in the rocket programme.

The names of these companies, however have not been disclosed. 

INSPACe will have a pre-EOI consultation with these 20 applicants within two weeks.

Noteworthy, the eligibility for the companies to bid for the opportunity is that they have to be profitable.

Besides, the lead bidder in a consortium has to have at least five years of manufacturing experience and annual revenue of $ 48.8 million.

Worth mentioning that India aims to grow its market share in satellite launches globally by fivefold, within the next ten years.