BENGALURU: With the development of Small Satellite Launch Vehicle by the Indian Space Research Organisation nearing completion, Antrix - ISRO’s commercial arm - is targeting to generate revenue to the tune of Rs 1,500 -2,000 crore per year by providing launch services with the vehicle. The SSLV, which will be ready for the market around the middle of 2019, will be able to carry satellites weighing upto 500 kgs and place them in Low Earth orbit (LEO).
As the development of SSLV progresses with ISRO, Antrix is also looking for a launch base for the new launch vehicle, along the South Eastern Coast of Bengaluru.S Rakesh, Chairman and Managing Director of Antrix, said that the private industry will be involved in the manufacture of the launch vehicle. “One of the major activities of Antrix will be procuring launches for SSLV. In order to encourage industry to take up such projects, SSLV will be produced by the private industry as soon as the development flight of SSLV is complete,” he said. Currently, plans are to produce 50-60 SSLV’s per year, which is expected to generate a revenue to the tune of Rs 1,500 - 2,000 crore per year. Antrix, he said, is considering what the final cost of the target vehicle should be, once it is developed. “More revenue can be expected for the use of SSLV as many countries and companies are looking at a constellation of satellites to provide various services,” he said.While there were a few other firms which were developing their own launch vehicles for small satellites, most of them were start-ups due to which ISRO had an edge in the sector, he said.
K Sivan, ISRO chairman, who had briefed about SSLV’s earlier in August had said that the demonstration of SSLV is likely in May or June 2019 with the vehicle expected to cost just one-tenth of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). “This will be an on-demand launch vehicle which requires minimum launch infrastructure. It will take just 72 hours to prepare and around three to six people for integration and launch,” he said.
Antrix is also looking at a new launch site for launching SSLV. While the exact location is yet to be finalised, the company was scouting for a location along the South East coast of India. “Though the launch facility will be comparatively smaller, we are looking at an area of around 100 acres so as to ensure adequate security,” Rakesh said.