Isro’s commercial arm to scale up ops with ₹10K-cr investment in five years
Bengaluru The NewSpace India Limited, the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation, on Friday said that it is looking at investing approximately ₹10,000 crore over the next five years and a manpower requirement of around 300 people as it plans to scale up operations
The NewSpace India Limited, the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation, on Friday said that it is looking at investing approximately ₹10,000 crore over the next five years and a manpower requirement of around 300 people as it plans to scale up operations.
“We expect an investment of approximately ₹2,000 crore per year starting next year or year after, that is the kind investment we are seeking to do, and our resources, manpower we are targeting a requirement of approximately 300 people in about 5 years from now,” Radhakrishnan Durairaj, executive director of NSIL, said on Friday in Bengaluru.
He said that the company, which was incorporated in March 2019, will raise capital with a mix of equity and debt.
The company earned revenues of ₹300 crore in the previous fiscal and around ₹400 crore in the current year, Durairaj said, adding the NSIL anticipates around ₹400 crore revenues next fiscal as well.
NSIL, incorporated as a wholly government owned Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) with a paid up capital of ₹10 crore on March 6, 2019, was allocated ₹700 crore by the union government in its budget 2021-22. However, the newly formed entity is still working out the modalities to get the money.
With a robust order book and its offer of niche services, NSIL looks to capitalise on demand for launch of commercial satellites among other services to increase revenues.
The company has four dedicated launches lined up for the next couple of years and most of its revenues earned so far have been through services, Durairaj said.
“We have contracts for four more dedicated launches but our NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) prevent us from revealing more details. All are foreign satellites,” Durairaj said.
The company, however, has concerns in the ride-share category which has several other global players.
“We were quite competitive commercially until recently. But now many international players have slashed their prices quite substantially. NSIL is not facing any major challenges but it (international players) is still quite a threat for us (NSIL),” he said.
Global companies like Elon Musk-owned SpaceX are also in the market for commercial launches of private satellites for various applications like communications, broadband, DTH, GPS and earth monitoring among other uses.
However, the company said that it continues to have an edge over others in the higher payload categories or dedicated missions of under 1000 kgs where the client bears the entire cost of the launch. On February 28, Isro launched Amazonia-I and 18 co-passenger satellites from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, which was the first dedicated commercial mission of the NSIL.
The space agency has already executed four PSLV missions for 45 auxiliary commercial satellites, apart from Amazonia-I.
“NSIL has established itself as a major space service provider in a very short period and in the not so distant future, you will see it emerging as a key player in all areas of space sector and space-based services in India with a significant global presence,” NSIL Chairman and Managing Director G Narayanan said.
According to Isro, Amazonia-I is an optical earth observation satellite of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and would strengthen the existing structure by providing remote sensing data to users for monitoring deforestation in the Amazon region and analysis of diversified agriculture across the Brazilian territory.
The 18 co-passenger satellites onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)-C51, considered the workhorse of the space agency, included four from IN-SPACe and 14 from NSIL. Only one of the 14 commercial satellites was from India while the remaining 13 were from the USA. Isro has put 342 customer satellites from 34 countries into orbit so far.
The company has also floated RFPs (request for proposals) to five Indian companies or consortia to build PSLV launch vehicles but Durairaj said that there will be no transfer of technology to these firms and that it will only be through licensed production.