ISRO Prepares To Monetise Desi Navigation System With Aim To Eat Into GPS Market Share

Have to look at space sector with a new perspective and shift to a larger, more monetised economy, says ISRO chairman
ISRO Prepares To Monetise Desi Navigation System With Aim To Eat Into GPS Market Share

India is planning to expand the use of its regional Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) system to make it useful for civilian sectors, and also for ships and aircraft travelling far from the country's borders, according to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

ISRO Chairman S Somanath told in an interview that although the NavIC system was not in a "full-fledged operational regime" right now, the space agency has approached the government for permission to launch 12 new satellites in the Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) to expand NavIC's reach.

Somanath was attending the India Space Congress organised by the SatCom Industry Association (SIA), where he also said, “Solutions provided by ISRO will help monetise space economy. We have to start looking at our Space sector with a whole new perspective and shift to a larger and more monetised economy.”
This monetisation will happen with the involvement of the private sector players. To increase the manufacturing of satellites in India, Somanath suggests giving an opportunity to private firms with ISRO acting as an 'anchor customer'. This means ISRO will be using its launcher to put the privately-manufactured satellites into its orbit.  

With India already pushing global technology companies to make their devices compatible with India's NavIC system, the ISRO chairman said that new satellites being built for NavIC would have better safety features as well. This would be particularly useful in the strategic sector. India's aggressive push to have smartphones in India compatible with NavIC did not resonate well with major companies such as Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi, according to a Reuters report. Such a move would involve significant hardware changes and a subsequent rise in production costs for the companies.
Earlier, India had expressed the desire to reduce the country's dependence on foreign navigation systems such as the popular U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS). It is believed that investing in indigenous navigation can lead to better domestic navigation and would be beneficial to the economy. Expanding the scope of NavIC can be seen as step in this direction. China, Japan, the European Union and Russia already have their indigenous navigation systems that can compete with GPS.  

Dr. Subba Rao Pavaluri, SIA president, speaking at the India Space Congress, also noted the importance of space technology. “It is playing a key role in the economic development of the country and in the next couple of years will play an important role in GDP contribution,” Dr Pavaluri said.  
(With inputs from PTI)

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