In what could be seen as a major fillip to the Kerala Space Park project, the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) has signed a MoU with the Kerala Government to support its endeavours in promoting space technology in the state.

The agreement was signed by State IT Secretary M Sivasankar IAS and VSSC Director S Somanath in the presence of Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, at the CM’s Office on Thursday.

“With VSSC and the Kerala Government joining hands for the project, Kerala is set to make major strides in space technology sector. This partnership will create an ideal ambiance for advanced research and development in space technology”, the Chief Minister said.

The agreement will facilitate VSSC to support the state’s ambitious project to set up the country’s first state-of-the-art Space Systems Park at Knowledge City in the state capital to attract global start-ups in the space sector and make it a major manufacturing hub for space-related technology, research and development.

“This agreement will enable to tap the full potential of Kerala in space research. The Space Park will also generate plenty of job opportunities,” Somanath said.

Kerala IT Secretary M Sivasankar and VSSC Director S. Somanath exchanging the MoU signed on setting up of Kerala Space Park, in the presence of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday. Chief Secretary Tom Jose and Scientific Advisor to CM MC Dathan are also seen.

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Knowledge Centre and Space Museum, to be developed by VSSC, a major centre of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), as a befitting memorial to former President and top space scientist, will be part of the overall infrastructure of the Space Park .

Chief Secretary Tom Jose, Scientific Advisor to Shri M C Dathan, IT Mission Director S Chithra, ISRO Inertial Systems Unit Director Dr D Sam Dayala Dev, LPSC Director Dr V Naryanan, Space Park Special Officer Dr Santhosh Kurup, Kerala IT Parks CEO Hrishikesh Nair, senior scientists from VSSC and CM’s  IT Fellows attended the ceremony.

VSSC will support the Kerala Space Park in the technical and leadership responsibility and promote the SMEs, startups and other partner entities in developing products and services for the Space Industry.

The MoU also states VSSC’s interest in providing opportunities for companies operating out of the Space Park to participate in its procurement process. Through this partnership, startups and SMEs will have access to VSSC’s experts in the design to commercialising stages of development.

Kerala Space Park will join hands with VSSC in organising international events and attract global space companies to Kerala. It is expected to open up immense global opportunities to professionals, students and industries and benefit the state in job creation and economic growth.

“Signing a MoU with VSSC is a milestone for Kerala’s plans to develop the Space Technology ecosystem. We believe it will open up plenty of opportunities in Kerala for the Space Technology Companies and Startups from across the world, and we hope to see a lot of action in the coming days,” Sivasankar said.

Kerala Space Park has two sub verticals – Space Technology Application Development Ecosystem (STADE) and Nano Space park to harness both upstream and downstream capabilities of Space Tech domain. STADE has already signed agreements with French Space Agency CNES and also Airbus, for promotion of Space and Aerospace Startups.

The project will be implemented by the Electronics and IT Department, Government of Kerala.

The State Government had already allotted the land required for  Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Knowledge Centre and Space Museum , which will be an added attraction to the Space Park.

The Government will transfer 20.01 acres of land as lease to the Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Ltd (KSITIL) to develop the Space Park at the Knowledge City within the Technocity.

By Manoj

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