The PSLV C-28 is a breakthrough commercial success for ISRO’s space business

When the work horse launch vehicle PSLV has carried a record pay load that contained five British satellites into the orbit, the endeavor becomes a big commercial breakthrough for ISRO and its business wing Antrix.

Preliminary estimates in the space business market shows that the Antrix’s turnover will go up by 20 % in the current financial year with the expected launch of few satellites including that of a US communication satellite in early 2016. Antrix has not revealed the contract value of the PSLV C-28 deal.

A major pleasant factor in the Antrix business is that most of its customers are from the advanced countries.

Antrix has entered into a launch service agreement with a company from US in 2014 for launching their earth observation micro satellite.

This is the first time that ISRO is launching a US built satellite on PSLV. Seven micro satellites were to be launched for another US company in the next year.

Another major commercial project –to launch a bigger pay load satellite for a US company has also been signed.

Mangalyaan success gives dividend

A notable factor is that the Antrix Corporation’s launch deal has increased after the Mangalyaan success. The present one for SSTL was signed in February 2014, couple of months after the ISRO made the successful mission to Mars.

It has demonstrated ISRO’s technological maneuverability in the lengthiest mission for any space operator.

Use of the PSLV with high precision, in an interplanetary mission to Mars has surprised the space industry all over the world and won many fans especially in the West.

Everybody was anticipating the impact of the Mangalyaan success on Antrix Corporation’s profile as a space business competitor. Trends on that will come in full only in the near future.

Space business websites indicate that, now, commercial satellite service providers are considering ISRO as the first option not just because of the low cost factor but also due to reliability.

The private sector is increasingly attracted to the Antrix. Interestingly, the PSLV C28 that carried five British satellites contained three end users in China.

The primary payload of the mission was three satellites of the British customer, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL). The SSTL satellite was rented by China’s, Twenty First Century Aerospace Technology Company (21AT) under a seven-year arrangement it has with the DMC International Imaging.

President of CEO of 21AT, Wu Shuang, who was quoted by SSTL has expressed his joy about the perfect placemen of the mission- “I am very glad that the three satellites are in orbit and have started communication with the ground station. It is the first step of our long march and we are looking forward to the commencement of our BJII data services following the completion of the commissioning of the DMC3/TripleSat Constellation.”

Even the PSLV C-28 is a technology demonstrator of the ISRO. In the coming year, the cumulative benefits of these missions will make the ISRO as a big competitor in space business. Return from Mangalyaan mission is going to be manifold than we expected.


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