Union Minister for Atomic Energy and Space, Dr.Jitendra Singh told Parliament on Wednesday 10 February 2021 that 26 Companies/startups have approached ISRO seeking technical guidance and facility sharing for their space activity.
The Minister said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha that NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) – an independent Indian satellite-based navigation system to provide PNT (Position, Navigation and Time) service to users over Indian region and region extending to about 1500km around India has been developed and operationalised.
On the issue of whether Indian telecom service providers or manufacturers have started using this home built GPS system, Singh informed that Major mobile chipset manufacturers (Qualcomm, Mediatek) have released NavIC enabled mobile processors. Using these processors, mobile handsets with NavIC capability have been released in the Indian market. Also, Government has incorporated NavIC as part of international telecom specifications for telecom service providers.
The Minister also told Parliament that Crew screening and selection for Gaganyaan manned Space Mission has been completed. The crew members are currently undergoing generic space flight training in Russia.
Further, Singh informed the House that preliminary design review of various human centric systems such as Space food and Potable water, Crew health monitoring system, Emergency survival kit, and Crew medical kit has been completed.
Hardware realization is in advanced stage for ground test and first unmanned mission.
Qualification tests of liquid engines as part of human rating of launch vehicle has commenced.
As per the revised COVID 19 protocols the training of Indian astronauts has resumed, since 12 May, 2020. The First unmanned mission is planned in December 2021. Second unmanned flight is planned in 2022-23, followed by human spaceflight demonstration, the Minister announced.
Singh also told Parliament that Rs 900 Crore was allocated to ISRO for F.Y. 2020-21 for developing capacity for launching of satellites.
Total number of satellites launched till date is 328 from 33 different countries and the revenue earned till date is 25 M USD and 189 M Euros. Moreover, Government of India has established NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a PSU under Department of Space to commercially launch satellites and become financially self-reliant.
ISRO is striving towards achieving Atmanirbharta in the field of capacity development in launching satellites; therefore, no policy is envisaged for seeking foreign cooperation in this direction.
In another related question, Dr Jitendra Singh said that ISRO facilities are extended to Indian industries and academia for testing their space systems. Satellites from Space Kidz India and Syzygy Space Technologies have undergone testing at UR Rao Satellite Centre, ISRO.