The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) has signed its first set of contracts with private entities to outsource the assembly, integration and testing of 27 satellites over the next three years.

The contracts were signed with a consortium led by India-based Alpha Design Technologies, Tata Advanced Systems and Bharat Electronics.

The consortium includes a group of six small and medium-sized companies, including Newtech, Aidin, Aniera, DCX, Vinyas, and Exseed Speed.

They are the first deals between ISRO and private entities.

Under the contracts, the consortium, Tata and BEL are set to develop between seven and nine satellites per year.

Tata and BEL will work independently as part of the contracts, which could be extended for two additional years.

“The new satellites to be built under the latest contracts will be around 1.5-3t and will be designed to provide imaging, communication, and weather forecasting services.”

Under the deals, ISRO is expected to focus more on research and development activities.

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The deals are also expected to encourage Indian private business to take part in the manufacturing of spacecraft components and spacecraft assembly.

Alpha Design Technologies chairman and managing director H S Shankar said that the company had previously received guidance from ISRO on the assembly, integration and testing of the 1.65t IRNSS-1i satellite.

Launched in April, IRNSS-1i is currently operating in outer space.

The new satellites to be built under the latest contracts will be around 1.5-3t and will be designed to provide imaging, communication, and weather forecasting services.

They will be assembled at ISRO Satellite Integration and Testing Establishment facilities.

Development of the new satellites is expected to create around 500 skilled jobs at each of the organisations over three years.