A CGI rendition image of India’s private space industry SKYROOT’s VIKRAM-II rocket

The government has come out with a policy to encourage participation of private companies in space technology as part of reforms in the field, ISRO chief S Somanath said on Saturday. The government would consult with industries and start-ups to strengthen the space eco systems under the public- private partnership in infrastructure, remote-sensing and development of new technology, Somanath told reporters on the sidelines of 26th convocation of Karunya University here.

With regard to investment, he said it would be 100 per cent for Indian companies and 70 per cent through FDI with the approval of the Centre.

To a question on the launch of small satellite launch vehicle (SSLV), Somanath said it would happen by this month-end or at the beginning of August.

Asked about starting a launchpad at Kulasekharapatnam in Tamil Nadu, he said the State government has allotted 2,000 acres of land and after developing the required infrastructure, it may be ready by another two years.

On the much awaited Gaganyaan programme, Somanath said the test and trials were on for the project. “We cannot just send a human to space, but should also ensure the human comes back,” he said. To another question on the utility of ‘Agniveers’ in ISRO, Somnath said it has already announced that there were employment opportunities for them.

Earlier, addressing the university students, Somanath said the need of the hour is not just specialists, but practitioners who think beyond the boundaries, recognising the inter-linkages of the problems to be solved.

The university Chancellor Paul Dinakararan conferred Doctorate Degrees (honoris causa) on Somanath and professor Colin Price, head of the Environment Studies, Tel Aviv University, Israel.

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