The NewsSpace India Limited (NSIL) awarded Rs 860 crore to the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T) consortium to build five Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLV) XLs from start to finish over four years. HAL and NSIL signed the contract during the opening session of the 7th Bengaluru Space Expo 2022 at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC).
As part of its job, NSIL asked for Expressions of Interest (EoI) on August 16, 2019, so that the Indian industry could make five PSLV-XL launch vehicles.
After the contract is given, it should take 24 months to make the first PSLV-XL rocket. After that, one rocket has to be sent to NSIL every six months.
The first rocket is expected to be built in the second half of 2024. The other four rockets will be made in 2025 and 2026, at a rate of two rockets per year.
This is the first time in ISRO’s (Indian Space Research Organisation) history that a whole rocket, including the heat shield, will be made outside the space agency.
Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd (BHEL) and a consortium of Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL), and Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML) submitted the other two bids for the project.
All of the stages, including the heat shield, will be sent to ISRO’s rocket port in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, by the Hindustan Aeronautics-L&T team. On the launch pad in Sriharikota, the first stage of the rocket will be put together. ISRO will put the rocket stages and the satellite on top of each other.
The NSIL will sell space on the rockets to customers who want them. The government will also use the rockets for space missions.
Hindustan Aeronautics, the leader of the consortium, is the company that NSIL will work with. It is not known how the two companies are setting up for the project. Even though the two companies sell parts to ISRO, no one knows how many parts they will need to make a PSLV-XL rocket.
After seeing how the model works, the company may decide to give all PSLV production to players in the industry.
India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is a rocket of the third generation. After its first launch in October 1994, PSLV became India’s go-to launch vehicle because it was reliable and versatile.
ISRO’s PSLV has made more than 52 successful flights over the years, and the vehicle is now considered fully operational.
The PSLV-XL rocket has four stages and weighs about 320 tonnes. Each stage is powered by both solid fuel and liquid fuel alternatively.
NSIL is ISRO’s sister company whose primary goal is to help Indian companies build up their high-tech production and manufacturing base to meet the needs of the Indian space programme. Indian industries will be able to build up a high-tech manufacturing base for the space programme through technology transfer mechanisms.
NSIL will be in charge of making sure that PSLV is made by Indian companies through the consortium route. The launch vehicle will be made, put together, and linked together by the Industry Consortium.
To cater to the emerging global small satellite launch service market, ISRO has taken up the development of a Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV). SSLV uses motors that run on solid fuel, which makes it less complicated. Manufacturing of SSLV through Indian Industry partners will be the responsibility of NSIL.
Private companies will also be able to serve the emerging global commercial small satellite launch service market and provide satellite services for a variety of domestic and international applications with the help of space technology spin-offs.
NSIL will be in charge of launching satellites for customers around the world using the SSLV, PSLV, GSLV, and GSLV-MkIII launchers.
It also has to build satellites and ground stations and offer services that use satellites.
The company has already issued the expression of interest for SSLV. In addition, the company has sent an “Interest Explanatory Note” to transfer ISRO’s technology for the transfer of technology for India Mini Satellite-1 (IMS-1) Bus and received 10-15 responses.
As a next step, NSIL plans to send an EOI for making the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk III.