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Cabinet approves transfer of 10 in-orbit satellites to NSIL

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday approved the transfer of 10 in-orbit communication satellites from the government of India to NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), in a move that is widely expected to ensure adequate commercial exploitation of these satellites.

The Cabinet also approved increasing the authorised share capital of NSIL from ₹1,000 crore to ₹7,500 crore.

“The transfer of these assets to NSIL will further provide the desired financial autonomy to the company to realise capital-intensive programmes or projects, thereby offering huge employment potential and technology spin-off to other sectors of the economy,” the government said in a statement on Wednesday.

The government statement said that this approval is expected to trigger domestic economic activity in the space sector and increase India’s share in the global space market.

NewSpace India was founded in 2019 as a public sector undertaking to commercially exploit the research and development work of the space agency, co-produce Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and launch satellites through Small Satellite Launch Vehicles (SSLVs).

To date, NSIL has launched 46 international customer satellites under commercial arrangements and has also signed four dedicated launch service arrangements for international satellite customers for launches this year. Apart from this, it is also working on commercialising high throughput satellite (HTS) capacity on satellites including GSAT-11 (geosynchronous satellites), GSAT-19 and GSAT-29,. NSIL is also working to provide mission support services to satellites and launch vehicle tracking, in coordination with international ground station operators and satellite owners.

The company has also been working on technology transfer agreements, to transfer technology from research and development activities done by ISRO and the department of science to Indian industries.

Chaitanya Giri, space domain consultant with the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) and advisor with SpaceFed India, said, “This is a fantastic decision, which further reinforces government’s commitment to space reforms. The entire GSAT series, except GSAT-7 and 7A, will go to NSIL, and thereby to companies intending to develop downstream satcom businesses. The new CMS (communication satellite) series is already operated by NSIL.”

Meanwhile, in another step forward in India’s first manned space mission, Gaganyaan mission, executives from ISRO and the Australian Space Agency (ASA) met virtually on Tuesday to assess the progress in the establishment of ISRO’s ground station in Australia to support the mission.

“ISRO chairperson along with secretary Department of Science and head of ASA also discussed other potential areas of working together including Australia’s International Space Investment initiative, establishing ISRO’s ground station in Australia for satellite data reception and for range and integrity monitoring of NavIC satellites and organising a joint workshop to promote interaction among space entities of both nations,” ISRO said in a statement on Wednesday. Hindustan Times

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