Indian Research Space Organisation (ISRO) briefed about two-dozen companies July 4 about the 8 billion rupees ($174 million) worth of business that is expected to be generated by the development of the country’s own satellite navigation system.
Called the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System — or IRNSS — the 14.2 billion rupees project was approved by the Indian cabinet May 9. It will consist of a constellation of seven satellites and a large ground segment. The plan calls for the entire system to be in place in six years, ISRO chairman Gopalan Madhavan Nair told those who attended the industry meeting, according to an ISRO press release.
The purpose of the meeting was “to expose the industry to the vast business opportunities available in satellite navigation program,” Suresh Kibe, director of the project told Space News in a telephone interview.
Kibe said the entire IRNSS system will be under Indian control. “The space segment, ground segment and user receivers will be built in India by our own industry,” he said.
“Our idea is to turn the satellite navigation project into a huge opportunity for our space hardware and software companies,” Kibe told Space News. “We will source the products from our companies and it is up to them if they want to have foreign collaboration.”
Nair said the system will provide satellite-based position, navigation and timing service not only for critical national applications but also for a variety of users — airlines, truck fleet operators, and ships, rescue workers, car drivers, fishermen, campers and so on — in India and neighboring countries. “Location-based service will become as ubiquitous as a mobile phone very soon,” he predicted.
The press release quoting Nair said that ISRO “is willing to look at funding critical technologies to enable industry to go hand in hand with ISRO.”
ISRO also expects industry to invest. “A major investment by the government should generate an equivalent or more investment by the industry and entrepreneurs in the years to come,” ISRO stated in the release.