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ISRO offer for India Inc

The Indian Space Research Organisation will provide India Inc a launch pad in its search for a slice of the multi-billion-dollar global satellite market.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2006 23:39 IST

The Indian Space Research Organisation will provide India Inc a launch pad in its search for a slice of the multi-billion-dollar global satellite market.

Prompted by a growing demand for communication satellites and the prospect of securing export contracts for them, ISRO has (through advertisements) invited capable private players to become its partner. Eventually, ISRO will pass on the responsibility of rolling out commercial satellites to the companies so that its engineers and scientists can focus on R&D projects and new technologies.

Once proven, the model will be used to meet the demands of private telecom companies as well as international customers. KR Sridhara Murthi, executive director, Antrix Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of ISRO, told HT: “Our long-term vision is to see that the industry meets the demands of other countries.”

Dr KN Shankara, director of ISRO’s Satellite Centre, said industries that partner the space agency would benefit. “We’ve invited the industries and will wait till April-end for their response,” he said. “We will provide ‘hand holding’ and on-the-job training and even allow access to our facilities (for testing and evaluation)."

"We will also supervise integration of the payload with the satellite platform and carry out pre-launch tests and post-launch operations. Once they establish themselves, they can bid in the international market," Shankara said. He added that the private players should have the capability to assemble the satellite platform and subsystems.

To cater to the huge demand for satellites, ISRO has set up a Rs 300 crore Satellite Integration, Test and Evaluation Facility on the outskirts of Bangalore. This facility, to be inaugurated on April 17, too will be offered to industries for trials of satellites.

The production of first such satellite under ISRO-industry partnership could take about 18 months -- from selection of companies to training, assembly and evaluation.

A typical communication satellite manufactured at ISRO's Satellite Centre costs between Rs 100 crore and Rs 300 crore. In the global market, big ticket companies quote almost twice the price. ISRO plans to leverage the advantage of cost and expertise (more than 25 communications and remote sensing satellites made indigenously) and partner with global majors to bid for international contracts.

Shankara said a successful run with commercial communication satellites would mean the opening of another launch window for the industry -- rolling out remote sensing satellites. "Right now, the requirement for communication satellites is more. Later, these industries will get an opportunity to produce remote sensing satellites because they are almost similar in design," he said.

First Published: Apr 15, 2006 23:39 IST