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23 Indian companies bid for ownership of ISRO’s SSLV rocket

In the Modi government’s push to transition its aerospace industry from one controlled by its space agency ISRO to one that is controlled by no one and is instead a competitive commercial market owned by private companies, it had recently proposed transferring ownership of ISRO’s SSLV rocket to a private company, and requested applications from private companies interested in doing so.

It now appears that twenty-three Indian companies have entered their names in the hat.

Chairman of Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) Pawan K Goenka said that they are keen to see how the private sector uses the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) technology. “There has been a tremendous response, 23 companies have (so far) shown interest in applying for this technology. Of course only one of them will get it,” he said.

IN-SPACe, an autonomous nodal agency under the Department of Space (DOS), formed in 2020 to promote, enable, authorise and supervise non-government entities (NGEs) to undertake space activities, had in July floated an Expression of Interest (EoI) for transfer of technology (ToT) of SSLV with the last date to respond to it being September 25.

“Technology transfer is something we are working on very aggressively, because we really want to see how ISRO’s technology is leveraged by private sector. A lot is happening in that area and the biggest one is of course SSLV technology transfer, where we are transferring the launch vehicle lock, stock, and barrel completely to the private sector,” Goenka said.

As there is still several weeks left before the deadline, it is possible other companies will submit offers. Whichever company gets the rocket will immediately become a significant player in the global launch market, able to offer a very cost effective rocket for commercial launches. It will certainly be able to match Rocket Lab right off the bat.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

One comment

  • I could not find information on the expected range of bidding, but several sources give the qualifying bidding company annual revenue at about $50M, which seems modest. Whatever the winning bid, it seems a relatively inexpensive way to, as Robert noted, become an immediately viable player in the orbital launch market.

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