India will emerge big player in space business: Antrix Corp

Chennai: “India with its space pedigree and track record of launching more than 300 satellites from Indian soil, it was ideally positioned in garnering the large growth in space domain,” said chairman and managing director of Antrix Rakesh Sasibhushan yesterday.

Antrix Corporation is the commercial arm of ISRO. Speaking at the CII annual regional meeting and summit on ‘Industry Future Forward,’ Sasibhushan said that there was a booming presence of startups in the space sector and because of this space is affordable for many industries to come into.

Space technology is undergoing a transformational phase in the country today and that many things have changed and new technologies have enabled smaller, cheaper and more efficient satellites, he said.

He further stated that space-based services were delivered by big satellites which weigh four or six tonnes taking several years to build and costing hundred millions of dollars, he said out of the six-tonne satellite, 60 per cent of the weight comprises the propellants.

“With the development of micro electronics, miniaturisation has led to the development of space hardware into small units and the 60 per cent of weight which I had said earlier is not required because electric propulsion system has come and so satellite weight has come down nearly by 50 per cent,” he said.

He said large satellites were getting replaced by constellation of small satellites and thousands of satellites were circling the earth at a very low orbit so that the problem of latency in voice and data delivery was solved. “A whole new business model is evolving and one can see particular technology of small satellite constellations replacing the larger big satellites of previous era happening in front of the eyes in next few years itself,” he said.

Referring to a Morgan Stanley report, the CMD said the global space industry currently valued at around USD 350 billion was expected to touch USD 1.9-trillion industry by 2040 and this was a huge growth for the industry. With the space industry recording a growth of two-three per cent, he said it was expected to post a double-digit CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) in near future. “So, that is a lot of opportunity”, he said. India offers a significant demand for satellite-based services and the demand for broadband-based connectivity was also increasing rapidly, he said.

NT Bureau