Adani Group L&T and BHEL are in the race to build Space Launch Vehicles (PSLV). These three entities are trying to get the contract to build five units of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)’s iconic Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). All three have submitted their bids on 30th July. This is the first time that PSLV contract will be given to someone outside ISRO to build the launch vehicle of a satellite.
Adani’s consortium also includes Alpha Design, and state-owned entities BEL and BEML. The consortium involving L&T includes public sector aerospace major HAL. Meanwhile, another public sector entity, BHEL, has bid as a single firm.
The New Space India Limited (NSIL) invited the bids. NSIL is a public sector undertaking that operated under the Government’s Department of Space (DoS). It was initially conceived as a commercial arm of ISRO and later given the rights to produce launch vehicles, own satellites, and more.
The New Space India Limited has first called for the Expression of Interest (EOI), to which five entities have responded. However, following its issuance of the Request for Proposal (RFP), three entities have already submitted bids following the RFP three weeks ago.
NSIL’s chairperson and Managing Director Radhakrishnan D said, “Techno-commercial evaluation is underway, after which the bids will begin. We expect the entire process to be completed in a few months, and cannot further at this point of time”.
One source said, the contract is expected to be awarded by the end of this year and selected entity will be the licensed manufacturer. ISRO has always worked closely with the industry. Over 150 industries, large and small, contribute launch vehicles to any PSLV launch. This is the first time a private industry will entirely make the launch vehicle.
According to DoS, this contract will not only give a boost to the government’s Make-in-India initiative but will also be ramping up ISRO’s ability to launch more satellites every year.
In 1993, PSLV had its first flight. The Indian space agency’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle has completed over 50 Indian launch missions and 222 foreign satellites over 25 years. The launch vehicle has proven its capability repeatedly, so much so that international clients have been queuing up to put their smaller satellites into orbit using the PSLV. This is not surprising, given that a PSLV trip is far more affordable than those on launch vehicles from other countries.
NSIL has plans of investing around Rs 10,000 crore over the next five years. The PSU, which has paid-up capital of Rs 10 crore and an authorized capital of Rs 100 crore, was allocated Rs 700 crore by the Centre in the 2021-22 budget.
In 2019-20, NSIL earned a revenue of around Rs 300 crore and while the official figures for 2020-21 are not out yet, the company was confident of more than Rs 300 crore.
By Bindu Kumari