A Difficult Task – Splitting ISRO and NSIL

me: I made an error in understanding this. I leave this here for record. But, I have corrected this on my newsletter.

I write a weekly newsletter on an Indian perspective to space stuff every Thursday. The edition that I sent out last Thursday (March 11) was a space policy edition.

I specifically covered a report tabled in the Rajya Sabha by the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment, Forests & Climate Change.

Department of Space Organisation Chart. Image: ISRO.

The Standing Committee asked DoS about the role of India’s space agency, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with the entrance of NewSpace India Ltd. (NSIL). The Department replied stating that missions such as Gaganyaan, Chandrayaan and advanced technology mission would be carried on by ISRO and the rest would go to NSIL. This answer was presented to Parliament in February 2021. The Standing Committee published the report on 8 March 2021.

It is based on this answer that I said in the newsletter that:

This means that ISRO is going through a period of change as it commercializes parts of it’s operations (PSLV, GSLV, SSLV etc.) and focuses on research. This section thus marks a very important turning point in it’s journey. As shared in this PTI story, NSIL also has ambitions of building satellites and payloads. This would mean parts of works done in each center of ISRO will be commercialized and spun-off into NSIL.

Pradeep’s Space Newsletter #20

On 12 March 2021, NSIL held a press conference (NSIL press note). Here, they announced that they are planning to take over ISRO’s fleet of communications and remote sensing satellites.

I must admit I did not see the satellites bit coming. This is no small task. Managing such a fleet of satellites would need the kind of human resources and expertise that is currently only available at ISRO.

Splitting technical and human resources between ISRO and NSIL will be no small task. This is the turning point that I am referring to in the paragraph above.

DoS had put out a request for proposals (RFPs) from the industry to see if any single or a consortium of industries could develop PSLV for NSIL. This process, they claimed during the press conference will take 6 to 8 months.

This leaves the space sector with several players with them not yet knowing what they have to do. There is Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), NewSpace India Ltd. (NSIL), Antrix Corporation, Space Commission and the Department of Space. The Government will have the task of putting them in order to make the sector boom. A difficult task.

Budgetary Allocation for the Department of Space in Budget 2011-12

If you have the time, I request you to consider reading the document in full (Excel Sheet). If you do not, here is the document with planned budgetary allocation for 2010-11 against revised figures  in 2010-11 in crores of Rupees:

  • Development of the GSLV Mk-III:  125.64 (against 130.78)
  • Cryogenic Upper Stage Project: 0.1 (against 0.1)
  • Continuation of the PSLV: 244.50 (against 224)
  • for the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center: 463.03 (against 375.18)
  • for the ISRO Intertial Systems Unit: 39.74 (against 29.63)
  • for the Liquid Propulsion Systems Center: 231.33 (against 203.02)
  • for the GSLV (including the Mk-III): 292.46 (against 209.10)
  • Space Capsule Recovery Experiment: 4.40 (against 4.79)
  • Manned Mission Initiatives/Human Space Flight: 98.81 (against 14.71)
  • Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology: 100 (against 10)
  • Semi-Cryogenic Engine Development: 150 (against 40)
  • Oceansat-2 and -3: 50 (against 10)
  • Resourcesat-2 and -3: 32.66 (against 22)
  • ISRO Satellite Center: 233 (against 244.60)
  • Laboratory for Electro-Optical Systems: 42.85 (against 36.71)
  • RISAT-1: 0.95 (against 2)
  • GSAT-4/GSAT-4R/GSAT-11EM: 50 (against 0)
  • Navigation Satellite System:  218.30 (against 167.40)
  • Semi-Conductor Laboratory: 45.72 (against 26.42)
  • Advanced Communication Satellite (including GSAT-11): 410 (against 35)
  • Earth Observation – New Missions, (Cartostat-3, TES Hyperspectral, DMSAR-1,ENVISAT,SCATSAT,RISAT-3, Future EO Missions and GISAT): 200 (against 0)
  • SARAL: 22.5 (against 13)
  • Satish Dhawan Space Center: 337.25 (against 261.51)
  • ISTRAC: 45.75 (against 53.75)
  • Space Applications Center:  291.99 (against 183.80)
  • Development and Education Communication Unit: 73.56 (against 22.76)
  • National Natural Resources Management System: 72.84 (against 42.06)
  • Earth Observation Application Mission: 2.53 (against 2.33)
  • National Remote Sensing Center: 145.55 (against 154.49)
  • Disaster Management Support: 34.57 (against 29.97)
  • North Eastern Space Applications Center: 6.07 (against 0)
  • Physical Research Laboratory:  48.31 (Against 33.97)
  • National Atmospheric Research Laboratory: 16.44 (against 8.43)
  • National Institute of Climate Change and Environmental Studies: 0.1 (against 0.1)
  • RESPOND: 15 (against 14)
  • Sensor Payload Development/Planetary Sciences Programme: 30 (against 8.25)
  • Megha-Tropiques: 2 (against 10)
  • ADITYA: 40 (Against 5.75)
  • ASTROSAT-1 and -2: 10 (against 10)
  • Chandrayaan-1 and -2: 80 (against 25)