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India Has A New Playbook To Break Into The Lucrative Global Space Economy

NEW DELHI: A few weeks ago, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) raised its performance bar yet again when its commercial arm successfully placed 36 communication satellites of London-based OneWeb in Low Earth Orbit (LEO)—the new genre of satellites. The satellites—part of a constellation of owned by OneWeb—proposes to reinvent communication by enabling processing of high volume messaging and data with minimal delay using satellites. They were launched using the LVM3 (Launch Vehicle Mark III), developed indigenously by ISRO to place geo-stationary satellites with a payload capacity of 4T; but can also be employed for launching 6T payloads for LEO. The launch was a win-win for all stakeholders. This was particularly true for ISRO. Its commercial arm, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), successfully scripted another commercial deal, and the first employing the LMV3. The first successful execution of a commercial deal by NSIL was the launch of a Brazilian satellite, PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1, in March last year. Significantly, the latest launch reveals how the private sector is graduating from being a mere vendor to a commercial partner to ISRO. This is a big plus, besides being another mindset reset and creating a new ecosystem to encourage innovation and startups in space. It is the beginning of the pivot to private-funded and private-conducted space activities in India. In short, India has come up with a new playbook to realise its commercial ambitions in space. To understand this and more we spoke to Narayan Prasad, COO, Satsearch—the Netherlands-based firm trying to build the global marketplace for the space industry.

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