Indian company delivers Gaganyaan fairing and high altitude launch abort motor to ISRO

Capitalism in space: The Indian private company, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, yesterday delivered to India’s space agency ISRO the fairing and high altitude launch abort motor that will be used in Gaganyaan, that nation’s first manned spaceflight.

Though the article at the link does not say so, the fairings and abort motor will likely be used in one of two unmanned launch abort test flights ISRO intends to do before the actual manned mission, now set for sometime in ’24.

Hindustan Aeronautics is also a space company in India that will require watching. It not only built these major components for Gaganyaan, it also has built major components for India’s PSLV and GSLV rockets. It would not surprise me if the company eventually decides to build its own rocket, assuming the India government loosens the stranglehold it presently has over space and lets private companies compete against its government space operations. It was a similar stranglehold by NASA from the 1970s to the 2000s that squelched competition and innovation from the American private aerospace industry. When that ended, the renaissance in commercial space finally could begin.

UPDATE: It appears I was in error assuming Hindustan Aeronauts was a private company, as it is owned by the Indian government. I have edited the post above to reflect this. It appears the stranglehold the government has over India’s aerospace industry is no closer to loosening.

ISRO hires company to build future PSLV rockets

Capitalism in space: For the first time, India’s space agency ISRO is about to hire a private company to build five PSLV rockets, rather than supervise the construction in-house.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and L&T consortium has emerged as the lowest bidder to make 5 Polar Space Launch Vehicles (PSLVs) for ISRO. “The company is the lead partner with L&T sharing the work. Other vendors too will be involved with the consortium in the manufacturing of the launch vehicles (LVs). However, the contract is yet to be formalised/ awarded,” HAL said in a statement.

If all goes as planned, the first rockets will be delivered late in ’24.

This contract changes less than it seems, though it is a step in the right direction. ISRO has for years hired private subcontractors to build its rockets and components. What is different now is that it appears that HAL is now the lead contractor, not ISRO. HAL however does not appear to own the rockets it builds, and thus will not be able to build more to sell launches to others. Until this happens, India’s space industry will remain wholly government run.