Mumbai: State-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has set an ambitious plan to launch 75-100 satellites in the next five years.

The organisation has planned to launch around 12 to 18 satellites per year up to 2020. In 2018, it has already completed three so far.

Speaking to The Free Press Journal, S V Sharma, deputy director, SPA said, “We have to make 10 (more or less). These satellites cost around Rs 100 crore to Rs 1,000 crore. We have government constantly funding us followed by our own customers.”

Apart from communications, oceanography, topography and earth science, education, medical, etc are the sectors that actively using satellites. Talking about their government’s demand for satellite, Sharma revealed that most of the ministries in India are looking at exploring the possibility of satellite technology to improve their respective ministries.

These satellites, which are maintained by ISRO but operated by their customers, has seen a growing demand. In order to meet the growing demand, ISRO plans to outsource its 50 per cent of work.

“We are trying to outsource 50 per cent of our work. This will allow me to achieve the target. We want the industry to make it,” said Sharma. However, nine satellites which will be customer-specific or be one of its kind, will be done by ISRO. This is to speed up the process and to empower the countries need for satellites. ISRO’s 25-30 per cent supplies which is non-strategy, comes from micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The space agency is supporting with their students outreach program. “So in large scale, we are educating students of getting into high technology— hardware as well as software to make satellites.”

When asked if most these satellites are built by IIT students, Sharma replied, “Much better talents lie in smaller institutions compared to ‘popular’ institutions. The simple reason for it is that they have something to prove.” ISRO is keen on reaching out to students but state governments also have to show interest around it, he added. The outreach is not limited to students but last year, in Maharashtra, they got teachers to participate and learn more on satellites and its technology.

Commenting on research and development, Sharma said whatever be the innovation in this field the spin-offs into other industries is very high.

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