Exploring Orbits: Antrix Corporation

3 Months agoISRO's commercial arm Antrix has played a pivotal role in making India a launchpad for the world. Read on!

On February 15, 2017 Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) successfully launched a record number of 104 satellites in the orbit. Along with Indian payloads, ISRO’s workhorse PSLV carried satellites of USA (96), Netherlands (1), Switzerland (1), Israel (1), Kazakhstan (1) and UAE (1) which had a combined weight of 1378 kg. With this new world record, the number of foreign satellites launched by India went up to 209 from 28 countries.1 As ISRO plans to build second vehicle assembly building, the launch capabilities of the organisation will increase to at least 12 rockets per year.2 Antrix Corporation, ISRO’s commercial arm, played an important role in negotiating launch deals from around 28 countries.3 Antrix was created to market Indian space products and services in global market. With thea creation of Antrix, India started making its presence felt in space commerce from late 1990s.4 In 2008, the company was awarded Miniratna status.

Since its inception in 1992, prestigious space agencies from Europe, North America, South East Asia and the Middle East such as European Space Agency, NASA and US Space Agency are Antrix’s clients. It also caters to globally-known space companies such as Avanti Group, World Space, Inmarsat and World Sat.5 6 In the last two years, Antrix has managed to earn foreign exchange of USD 91 Million by promoting and marketing the various products and services created by India’s space programme.7

Antrix Corporation primarily offers following services to clients:

 

1. Transponder Provisioning Services:

 
  • Antrix provides necessary space segment capacity to various satellite communication players through the Indian National Satellite System (INSAT), one of the largest domestic satellite networks in the Asia-Pacific region. There are 13 fully functional in-orbit satellites with more than 250 transponders operating at various band frequencies.8
  • Services such as Television Broadcasting (TV), Direct To Home (DTH) and Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) are provided through transponders from INSAT or Geostationary Satellites (GSAT), which primarily covers the Indian subcontinent. Antrix also provides telephone services and Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT).9 Both GSAT and VSAT series of satellites are aimed at improving telecommunications and related services in the country.10
     

2. Launch services

 
  • ISRO’s vast experience in 63 launch missions makes it capable of providing the best mission support services.11 Antrix offers these services for customer satellites on behalf of ISRO. India’s space sector has state- of-art infrastructure for both low earth orbiting and geo-stationary satellite missions. Round-the- clock mission support is provided through Master Control Facility (MCF) and ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC).12
  • Currently, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) are the operational launch vehicles of ISRO. The launches are executed from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), a facility located at Sriharikota in South India.13
  • With 35 consecutive successful flights, PSLV is one of the most reliable launch vehicle with an ability to perform low inclination, Geo-synchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and sub-GTO missions. The launch vehicle comes with three different configurations with capacities ranging from 1,000-1,750 kg. Considered extremely reliable, PSLV was used to launch India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) on September 24, 2014.14 15 Another launch vehicle, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) is a three-stage vehicle employing solid, liquid and cryogenic propulsion stages. It has had 11 successful launches till date.16
     

3. Remote Sensing Services

 
  • Antrix markets the data obtained from the constellation of Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites to various domestic and international customers. The constellations of IRS satellites such as RESOURCESAT-2, CARTOSAT-1, RISAT-1 and OCEANSAT-2, constantly send data to established ground stations across the globe, which then process this data. Antrix upgrades ground systems, provides application-specific hardware and software along with turn-key solutions for receiving systems.17
     

4. Spacecraft, subsystems and services

 

Antrix assists its clients to customise, configure and build satellites along with sub-systems. Here are the services offered by Antrix:18

  1. Satellite platforms
    Satellite platforms such as INSAT/GSAT with different configurations of the payloads areoffered by Antrix to its clients.19
  2. Satellite subsystems
    Satellite sub-systems such as thermal systems, mechanisms, RF Systems, Attitude Control and Power systems are provided to clients by Antrix. It also offers services to build, design and operate payloads for various purposes.20
  3. Spacecraft integration and environmental testing
    Facilities such as thermo-vacuum chamber (CATVAC) for thermo vacuum performance qualification of the aircraft, vibration shaker (CATVIB), and comprehensive Antenna Test Facility (CATF) and test protocols for high power satellites are provided by Antrix.21
  4. Geo-Stationary Satellites
    With nine operational communication satellites placed in Geo-stationary orbit, the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system is one of the largest domestic satellite communication systems in the Asia-Pacific region. Antrix markets the services offered by these satellites.22
  5. Earth Observation Satellites
    The data collected from various Earth Observation satellites is marketed by Antrix. It is used for various applications such as agriculture, water resources, urban planning, rural development, mineral prospecting, environment, forestry, ocean resources and disaster management.23
  6. Small Satellites
    Antrix provides capabilities to build, configure and operate small satellites to its clients.24
     

5. Ground Infrastructure and space based needs

 
  • Antrix provides turnkey end-to- end solutions in designing, system engineering, procurement, installation, commissioning, operationalisation, hosting and maintenance of state-of- the-art satellite earth stations/ TTC stations and associated support systems.25
  • Antrix Corporation earned around USD 100 Million in FY 2014-15 through satellite launches.26 The company reported 17% growth by generating revenue of USD 286 Million in FY 2014-15.27 It continued its growth trajectory in FY 2015-16 when it earned USD 35 Million just through its satellite launch services.28 The Government aims to spur the growth in sector through 100% FDI and international collaborations.29 With right policies and encouraging investment environment, Antrix Corporation aims to capture maximum share of USD 200 Billion global space market.30 It aims to emerge as a globally significant space company fully utilising the strengths of ISRO and other entities in the field of space.31

Source:
1 http://www.isro.gov.in/missions-0
2 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/isros-launch-capacity-will-get-boost-with-new-facility-at-sriharikota-by-year-end/articleshow/59890384.cms
3 http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=159355
4 http://www.isro.gov.in/sites/default/files/flipping_book/annualreport-eng-2017/files/assets/common/downloads/Annual%20Report%202016-17.pdf
5 http://www.isro.gov.in/about-isro/antrix-corporation-limited
6 http://www.antrix.gov.in/about-us
7 http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=159355
8 http://www.antrix.gov.in/business/applications
9 http://www.antrix.gov.in/business/transponder-provisioning-services
10 http://www.isro.gov.in/applications/telecommunication
11 http://www.isro.gov.in/missions-0
12 http://www.antrix.gov.in/business/mission-support-services
13 http://www.antrix.gov.in/business/launch-services
14 http://www.antrix.gov.in/business/launch-services
15 http://edition.cnn.com/2014/09/23/world/asia/mars-india-orbiter/index.html
16 http://www.isro.gov.in/launchers/list-of-gslv-launches
17 http://www.antrix.gov.in/business/remote-sensing-services
18 http://www.antrix.gov.in/business/spacecraft-subsystems-and-services
19 http://www.antrix.gov.in/business/satellite-platforms
20 http://www.antrix.gov.in/business/satellite-subsystems
21 http://www.antrix.gov.in/business/services
22 http://www.isro.gov.in/spacecraft/communication-satellites
23 http://www.isro.gov.in/spacecraft/earth-observation-satellites
24 http://www.isro.gov.in/spacecraft/small-satellites
25 http://www.antrix.gov.in/business/ground-infrastructure-space-based-needs
26 http://pib.nic.in/newsite/mbErel.aspx?relid=123528
27 http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/isro-s-commercial-arm-antrix-revenue-up-17-in-fy15-115121800781_1.html
28 http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/india-earned-rs-230-crore-through-satellite-launch-services-in-fy16/324996/
29 http://dipp.nic.in/sites/default/files/FDI_Circular_2016%281%29.pdf
30 http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=147441
31 http://www.antrix.gov.in/about-us/vision