Rs.139-crore facility in Bangalore will be ready in three years: Radhakrishnan

The Indian Space Research Organisation is setting up a Rs.139-crore facility at the Bangalore unit of the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. to produce cryogenic engines and complex components for its GSLV and future rockets and it will be ready in three years.

ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan said this on the sidelines of a lecture programme here on Saturday.

At present, ISRO is developing cryogenic engines with a consortium of Godrej and Hyderabad’s MTAR. HAL is said to have been approved as a second source of assemblage by the Space Commission last month.

The space programme includes the ongoing GSLV and the heavier-lift GSLV Mk-III launch vehicles besides a future rocket powered by a semi-cryogenic engine. “We have our own workstation [where] we produce structures, tankages and assemble rocket stages All these require capacities. With one more work centre, the capacity can be increased,” he said.

Currently, HAL is assembling stages of the GSLV Mk-III vehicle, which can put four-tonne satellites in orbit. The structure for a Mars orbiter spacecraft, due for launch in October, also comes from its aerospace facility.

Dr. Radhakrishnan earlier delivered the seventh annual Air Chief Marshal L.M. Katre memorial lecture — titled ‘Indian space programme: emerging frontiers’ — organised by the Aeronautical Society of India’s Bangalore chapter.

Industry model

ISRO apparently needs to augment its capacities through industry as it has around 50 missions lined up over the next four years, including 15 PSLVs, six GSLVs and two Mk-III vehicles to lift its spacecraft. The cryogenic centre would draw on HAL’s aerospace expertise, developed over 25 years.

Recalling that former HAL Chairman and Air Force chief L.M. Katre as well as the former ISRO Chairman, Satish Dhawan, had pushed for an integrated aerospace division at HAL to cater to ISRO’s needs, Dr. Radhakrishnan said the latest facility was a tribute to the two visionaries.

ISRO was also pursuing a unique space enterprise model involving public and private industries, which would, within the next three-five years, start producing satellites and PSLVs. The model already has a base of 500 vendors.

‘Revisit proposal’

Earlier, HAL chairman R.K. Tyagi said a proposal for a cohesive national aeronautics commission, overseeing civil and defence stakeholders and their activities, should be revisited “if India wishes to be a global player in the sector.”

The Rs.14,000-plus defence public enterprise was geared to make a civilian passenger plane besides mandated military planes — the medium multi-role combat aircraft, the light combat aircraft, advanced helicopters, the intermediate and basic jet trainers, he said.

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