As India’s government seeks more investment in the booming space market, Larsen & Toubro and Hindustan Aeronautics are among companies vetted to potentially bid in India’s efforts to privatize small rocket launches.
The Small Satellite Launch Vehicle was developed by the Indian Space Research Organization, the national space agency, as a low-cost means to launch satellites weighing up to 1,102 pounds into low-earth orbit. These vehicles serve a booming market to launch clusters of satellites for communications and data that SpaceX and other rivals compete in, says Reuters.
India aims to increase its share of the global satellite launch market fivefold within the next decade. About 20 companies submitted an expression of interest in bidding on the privatization, the first of its kind under a policy drive by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to open launch and other space businesses to investment.
India’s newly created space regulatory body, the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center, known as IN-SPACe, opened the bidding process on the SSLV program in July by allowing qualified companies to register an interest.
It will be the first Indian rocket to be fully privatized, meaning that the winning bidder or consortium will take over the entire program, in contrast to a more limited contract for manufacturing the PSLV rockets.