How Antrix Is Monetising ISRO’s Core Strengths

Founded in the year 1992 under the Companies Act, Antrix is the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and promotes products and services emerging because of ISRO’s space missions. Antrix provides Launch Services for customer satellites, onboard ISRO’s operational launch vehicles of PSLV and GSLV. The commercial arm of ISRO has many areas that it works in. Here are some of its specialities:

Remote sensing: Antrix has remote sensing services and offers data from the constellation of Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites to international customers. In order to receive and process the IRS data directly, it has established ground stations internationally. Antrix undertakes the establishment of IRS Ground Systems for customers, offering turn-key solutions for receiving systems, upgrading of existing ground systems with mission specific hardware and software.

Broadcast: Antrix enables satellite communications service providers with a necessary space segment capacity, predominantly covering the Indian region. It supplies communication satellite transponders to various users. A large number of transponders from INSAT/ GSAT fleet in C, Ext C and Ku bands are provisioned to Indian users for Television Broadcasting (TV), Direct To Home (DTH), Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG), Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) and Telephony services. Transponders leased from foreign satellite operators, on a back-to-back basis, are also provisioned to service providers. The services address a wide range of social and business needs.

Satellite subsystems: Antrix has the capability to configure, build, and deliver satellites and satellite subsystems. These subsystems are later deployed for different applications. Towards these, Antrix works with customers, leveraging maximally on the capabilities and infrastructure available at various ISRO Centres.

With ISRO’s experience of having accomplished over 70 satellite missions and 40 launches, Antrix, as its commercial arm, caters to mission operations and related support services for customer satellites. The services are extended through the state-of-art facilities and networks built for both low earth orbiting and geostationary satellite missions. The facilities are backed by strong technical expertise and experience in satellite operations and management. The satellite ground stations support operations in a variety of frequency bands (S, C, Ku and Ka) and with configurations to provide round-the-clock uninterrupted services for critical mission functions.

International Support

Antrix has also gained plenty of support internationally. It has launched a number of international satellites from Indonesia to the US, since the year 1999. In 2018, for the first time, it also helped South Korea for its launches with its PSLV C-40. So far, 74 international customer satellites from 20 countries have been successfully made by Antrix.

Former ISRO Chairman, A S Kiran Kumar, on the occasion of Antrix’s 25 years completion had said, “Companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are building small launchers. There are others who are offering a one-way ticket to Mars. Launch vehicle technology is a risky business and yet there are Indian companies like Bellatrix Aerospace that are offering Garuda, a launch vehicle and Chetak, a nanosatellite launch vehicle. Their presence means that they are willing to take the risk.”

Outlook

ISRO, with a legacy over 30 years in satellite launching, has an extensive range of spacecraft separation systems catering up to 4000 kg class payloads. The successful demonstration of highly reliable space mechanisms in different launch vehicles over the time has put ISRO among the leading Launch Service Providers in the world today, all thanks to the team behind Antrix, which was also awarded Miniratna status.

Overall these years since its inception, Antrix has come a long way, been an excellent body of ISRO and experienced tremendous growth.

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