In the space sector it is the satellite that showers continuous cash to the operators — the cash cow — and not the glamourous rocket.
With the trend of small satellite constellations, satellite manufacturing offers good scope for India, states a sectoral report titled ‘Developing the space ecosystem in India: focusing on inclusive growth’ was prepared by the Indian Space Association (ISpA) and EY.
As per the report, the satellite manufacturing business in India is expected to touch $3.2 billion in 2025 from $2.1 billion in 2020.
New age low earth orbit (LEO) players are showing interest to leverage Indian companies for locally built satellite communications equipment, the report said.
Foreign companies are looking to reap the benefits of satellite manufacturing services in India.
Coupled with the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, satellite manufacturers are ideally placed to capitalize on the growing demand for small satellites.
According to the report, currently, the Indian space ecosystem is well developed to manufacture the satellite bus system.
However, the manufacturing of critical payloads (e.g., high precision camera) is very nascent and has not taken off.
In addition, testing of satellites plays a very important part in ensuring robustness and longevity. Rigorous testing is required for larger and critical satellites. Currently, the test facilities in India are with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Setting-up space parks across the country is likely to give a fillip to companies operating across the space value chain, especially manufacturing.
“It will be key to attracting global startups working in the space sector and help to incubate spacetech companies in India. Space parks will provide a ready ecosystem for SMBs (small, medium business) and startups focused on the component and sub-component of satellite manufacturing,” the ISpA and EY report said.
In addition, space parks can significantly improve the unit economics of satellite manufacturers by using shared resources and facilities.
Apart from satellite manufacturing, space parks can be a breeding ground for companies in the satellite application space. It will help to come-up with new business cases in the downstream segment and identify revenue generating potential, the report notes.