Sunil Bharti Mittal believes that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) could be one of the leading commercial space launch centres globally during a media roundtable celebrating the completion of Bharti-backed OneWeb’s low earth orbit satellite constellation.
What Happened? “ISRO has great potential to become one of the premier commercial space launch centres in the world,” said the Bharti Airtel chairman, per a Hindu Business Line report.
He added that India is one of the top two players in the commercial launch marketplace in the world, and can become a dominant competitor to SpaceX in the space launch industry.
On Sunday, ISRO’s LVM-3 launched 36 OneWeb satellites, bringing the total number in OneWeb’s LEO constellation to 618, which aims to provide broadband from space, worldwide.
The launch went through after the British government cancelled the launch of 36 broadband satellites on the Russian rocket Soyuz following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
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Why Is Mittal So Hopeful? “India will become the main place to manufacture these terminals, especially as Chinese terminals are unlikely to be accepted in most parts of the world,” said the billionaire entrepreneur, adding that he is in discussion with NSIL — a commercial arm of ISRO, to see which Indian manufacturers can participate.
Mittal reiterated that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) must come up with a space allocation policy that fully capitalises on the benefits of LEO connectivity. Mittal has established two ground stations in India, in partnership with Indus Towers, an Airtel-backed tower company and Nyxtra, a data centre business.
“OneWeb will have the basic infrastructure to launch its satellite services ready by July, after which it only needs clarity on the allocation of satellite spectrum which it still awaits,” said Mittal, adding that OneWeb plans to provide around 1% of its total capacity to India.
Cover image by World Economic Forum on Flickr
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