16 July 2019
Chennai: The government should create a new space industrial ecosystem to compete with other nations, said a Mumbai-based think-tank Gateway House in a statement.
On Monday the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) postponed launch of moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, due to a technical glitch in the rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III).
"It's time for the Department of Space (DoS) to view the private sector beyond supplier of components to ISRO and purchaser of the technologies that ISRO spins off. The postponement of Chandrayaan-2 launch is an opportunity to create new space industrial ecosystem to compete with the established and aspiring space powers," said Chaitanya Giri, Fellow, Space and Ocean Studies Programme, Gateway House, in a statement.
The DoS should take the postponement as an opportunity to assess the strategic issue at the core viz the lengthy development of the nation's only heavy-lift launch system, the GSLV MK-III, he added.
ISRO chose to go it alone instead of partnering with the private sector and developing public-private rocket manufacturing capacities in the country that can competitively build the cryogenic engine, the most critical part of the GSLV MK-III, and the fairing and designs of the rocket.
In most countries, the heavy-lift had been the central strength of established space powers and their government-led space agencies, the statement said. But over the years, these space-faring countries had been allocating rocketry beyond a single agency or company to a multitude of entrepreneurial players in the commercial sector, it added.
"For instance, the Russian heavy-lift, International Space Station transporter Soyuz, is built and operated by the joint-stock companies NPP Energia and Progress," it said.
According to Gateway House, the US's heavy-lift Atlas V, Falcon Heavy, Big Falcon Rocket, and New Glenn are all developed, constructed and operated by private companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX and Blue Origin.