The Indian Space Research Organisation on Monday invited private companies to help build satellites as in-house capability will not be enough to meet its high targets, The Hindu reported. A tender was floated for the private sector for the assembly, integration and testing of 30-35 satellites.

Four to five companies will be selected for the contract by February.

The need for the private sector’s increased involvement comes as Isro aims to launch 16 to 18 satellites a year, against just three to four a year currently, said Isro satellite centre’s Director M Annadurai. More satellites are needed to meet the country’s increasing demands, PTI reported.

The space agency also wants private companies to begin manufacturing satellites entirely at their own facilities, after they gain enough experience.

Another official said that Isro plans to launch nearly 60 satellites in the next five years. “Our in-house capacity is limited,” he said. “So we are looking to offload 30%-40% of the work to the private sector.”

Isro has also set 2021 as its target for the first satellite launch vehicle built entirely by private companies, Chairman AS Kiran Kumar told The Times of India. The space agency is planning a joint venture with a group of companies for the purpose, and work is in progress, Kumar said.