November 2022 saw The Space Forum at the 10th Bahrain International Airshow. On one of the panels called “How to engage new generations in space”, Dr. Radhakrishnan Durairaj, Chairman and Managing Director of NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a public sector undertaking (PSU) of the Government of India and commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), gave his expert opinion on the topic.
At the event, Durairaj was also interviewed on India’s impressive expansion of its space sector.
“Basically, we [NSIL], were established in 2019 to commercialize the space products and services in India and also look after the operational missions of the Indian Space Research Organisation in a much more expansive way,” said Durairaj to begin the interview.
Durairaj continued by saying that since the company was established it has made substantial revenue. In fact, they are currently expecting about 3000 crores (US $405 million) in revenue. In terms of valuation, Durairaj is proud to say that NSIL is already a US $1 billion company in terms of authorized capital.
“With respect to space activities, NewSpace India Limited is doing end-to-end space-related activities by building launch vehicles through industry, providing launch services to international customers, building satellites, launching satellites, and doing the Mission Support Services Technology Transfer,” said Durairaj, while noting the company owns eleven communication satellites in orbit built by Israel and is one of the fastest satellite operators in India that provides all communication services.
When asked how important it is to address and discuss the hurdle of bringing younger workforce into the space industry — not just in India but globally — and the process of getting applicants to come through, Durairaj gave a clear answer:
“What I find now is in respect to human resources, I would say in India we have the big advantage of more than 16,000 to 17,000 engineers who are working in the space industry, that’s a big workforce and as and when the people retire from the services — because in space agencies or government in India, people need to retire after a particular period of time — these people become engaged as advisors and consultants in some of the startups where they teach all the nuances of the space business.”
Coordinate & Cooperate
Finally, Durairaj was asked how important it is for his organization to be at face-to-face events like in Bahrain.
“It’s the first time I have been to Bahrain to participate in The Space Forum,” said NSIL’s Chairman. “As India is a neighbouring country we always look forward to seeing how effectively we can coordinate or maybe cooperate with some of these countries like Bahrain and other neighbouring countries here to enable them to get into space-related activities, especially in the area of capacity building, provide them support services wherever they feel we are of use to them. So, I think we’re really excited to be a part of this journey to participate.”
Featured image: Dr. Radhakrishnan Durairaj. Screenshot from “How India’s space agency is capitalising on space sector growth” on YouTube.