ISRO : India’s pride, NASA’s envy !
American, German, Algerian, Canadian, Japanese, Indonesian, Malaysian – no, this is not the list of cuisines available at some fancy new restaurant. This is the list of countries that will seek the help of ISRO to get their satellites into space over the next one year. 2016-17 will see ISRO put over 25 satellites from these seven countries into orbit. The commercial arm of ISRO – Antrix corporation Limited , has been managing the commercial ventures that ISRO technology is harnessed for. The first offshore clients that Antrix served were Korea and Germany, with two satellite launches in 1999. In the 16 years that followed, ISRO has helped over 20 countries scale the unknown frontiers of space. Eighty four launches since 1994, out of which 51 were commercial missions in which ISRO technology was used to launch satellites for other countries – mighty impressive numbers, whichever way you look at it.
Space exploration and technology is a sector that has given Indians a lot of reasons to be proud. Achievements such as the Mars mission that succeed in its very first attempt, that too at a fraction of the cost of the NASA mission are highlights that have been lauded the globe over. India’s love and respect for the ‘rocket-man’, as the media dubbed him, the much loved A. P. J Abdul Kalam is in a way an indicator of thier sense of pride Indians take in the organization that is ISRO. Kalam played a pivotal role in the development of the Polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) which has been instrumental in delivering all these satellites to their orbits. The launches usually take place from the Satish Dhawan space centre at Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh – a name that is today synonymous with ISRO. 2016 so far has seen the successful launch of 11 satellites using the PSLV C28 and C30 rockets.
The sense of pride that the Indians have in their space agency is certainly not misplaced. Commercial ventures from ISRO have been seeing unprecedented scales of response – with various countries from across the globe expressing complete confidence in the abilities of ISRO to deliver their payloads. Britain and Singapore have been the biggest clients serviced till date, with ISRO launching five and six of their satellites respectively. ISRO is not a new name in the space technology sector, but the biggest factors that work in favor of brand India are the comparatively lower costs and the accurate deployment of satellites. Antrix handles all commercial aspects of the client engagement, offering end-to-end services including satellite building, launch services, building and deployment of associated components and sub-systems, as well as data and technology exchange and mission support services.
The Antrix website lists out the vision of the company as “To emerge as a globally significant space company fully utilizing the strengths of ISRO and other entities in the field of space”. Given the global success that they enjoy today despite being a government agency, it would certainly be safe to say that both Antrix and ISRO have made no mistakes in getting their mission right!
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