ISRO to share technical guidance and facilities with private firms

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has indicated plans to share its facilities and resources with private sector companies, in an unprecedented move to bolster research and development efforts in the space sector and improve collective capabilities through collaboration.

February 10, 2021

ISRO are currently reviewing 26 proposals for collaboration on a range of innovative activities.

Companies or startups are seeking technical guidance, resources, data, and support facilities.

From GIS mapping to academic ventures, ISRO is in conversation with groups from around India.

Collaboration with private firms can boost ISRO capabilities and help liberalise the sector.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has indicated plans to share its facilities and resources with private sector companies, in an unprecedented move to bolster research and development efforts in the space sector and improve collective capabilities through collaboration. According to an official release on February 10, ISRO is currently reviewing 26 proposals from companies or startups seeking technical guidance, resources, data, and support facilities for a range of innovative activities in the sector. 

From geographical information systems (GIS) mapping services to educational initiatives, ISRO will be enabling a number of private firms and institutions around the country. Satellites from Bengaluru-based Syzygy Space Technologies and Chennai-based Space Kidz India have already been tested at the UR Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), with other groups in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana and Maharashtra receiving support in varying capacities.

By allowing private enterprises from the aerospace and aviation sector to tap into its resource pool, ISRO can effectively boost their capabilities and contribute to a liberalisation of the space sector. In 2020, the Government announced reforms and incentives for various sectors as part of its US$277 billion stimulus package, designed to boost the Indian economy and support those worst affected by the pandemic. Accordingly, the space technology sector has seen changes to regulatory framework and a liberal geospatial data policy to drive private-public partnerships, to the extent where private entities could be deemed ‘co-travelers’ and granted opportunities to partner in space exploration projects.

The Indian space technology sector has witnessed a proliferation of innovative startups owing to rising capabilities in related innovations and technologies as well as the lowering of costs associated with the launching of missions. The ISRO has been an active collaborator in the growth of startups in the sector, with Indian aerospace startups attracting the interests of foreign investors and collaborators, driven by their growing capabilities and the opportunities created by the liberalisation in the sector.