ISRO-OneWeb launch agreement: loss for Russia, gain for India?

It seems India’s thriving space sector clearly stands to gain from Western sanctions against Russia, as some industry observers have speculated. After Space X, NSIL is the second company with which OneWeb has signed launch agreements. This makes it clear that OneWeb has no intention of reverting to using Russian rockets or launch stations no matter how the perilous situation develops.

“This is yet another historic day for collaboration in space, thanks to the shared ambition and vision of New Space India and OneWeb. This latest agreement on launch plans gives a huge boost to the development OneWeb’s network as we work together in the space industry toward our common goal of connecting communities globally,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, Executive Chairman of OneWeb.

After the wave of space liberalization reforms in India and the government’s emphasis on the role of space in a vibrant economy, India’s private space sector had reason to celebrate. ISRO and its commercial wings such as NSIL and INSpace, the nodal agency for start-up support, have given a boost to the Indian space sector environment. They plan to attract new talent and build a strong network of industry-university connections for sophisticated R&D.

Over the past three years, NSIL has launched 45 global satellites aboard ISRO’s PSLV, generating $35 million in revenue. ISRO aims to build national capacity, create a scalable technology ecosystem and transform India into a world-class launch hub.

In a recent interview with geospatial worldISRO President S. Somnath called NSIL a “operating systems operator” and said the organization could both build its launchers and fly foreign satellites for commercial purposes.

The ISRO outperforms many of its competitors in terms of reliability and affordability. Satellite Internet will unveil the next generation of connectivity that will drive cutting-edge developments and new business models. This is another upcoming opportunity for India with immense transformative potential.

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