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ISRO’s commercial arm NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) on Friday invited industry partners to develop heavy lift rocket Launch Vehicle Mark-3 in public-private partnership mode. In a bid to cater to growing demand for launching heavy satellites or mega constellations of low earth orbit satellites, the NSIL is looking forward to produce four-six LVM3 class rockets every year against the existing capability of two vehicles per year.

“NSIL has released the Request for Qualification (RFQ) to invite responses from potential bidders who would end-to-end realize ISRO’s heavy lift launcher LVM3,” the NSIL said in a statement. The NSIL said it was exploring options to partner with Indian industry through a PPP framework to produce LVM3 in large numbers over a period of 10 to 15 years.

The state-run firm said it was also considering the option to seek investment from the partnering Indian industry for the same. The PPP framework will be for a period of 14 years and the industry partner is expected to produce up to six LVM3 annually from the sixth year of commencement of the programme.

Approximately 60 to 65 launch vehicles are projected to be realised through Indian industry during this proposed period, the NSIL said. As per the proposal, the industry partner for the LVM3 programme will be selected through a two-stage process Request for Qualification, followed by a Request for Proposal.

As part of RFQ, NSIL would technically qualify and shortlist multiple Indian industry partners who would be bidding individually or as a consortium. NSIL would then issue RFP to these technically qualified and shortlisted bidders to seek their investment and financial proposals. Following the completion of the RFP process, a single Indian industry partner either as a sole bidder or a consortium would be selected to execute the envisaged LVM3 production programme, the NSIL said.

The LVM3 has a track record of seven successful launches and the rocket had made its debut in the global commercial launch service market by placing 72 satellites of OneWeb on-board two missions from its spaceport at Sriharikota. In 2022, the NSIL had awarded a contract to a consortium of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and L&T to build five Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles, a move that would enable domestic industry to graduate from being a vendor to overall system integrator for PSLV.

Similarly, ISRO is also looking for industry partners for the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle, the latest rocket to launch small satellites.