With ISRO having launched over 300 satellites including those of other countries from Indian soil, seeds are being sown for the country to become a big player in commercial space, a top official of Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of ISRO, said Friday. “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,” chairman and managing director of Antrix Rakesh Sasibhushan said here.
He was addressing a gathering at a session “Building on Discontinuities in Digital and Technology” at the CII annual regional meeting and summit on ‘Industry Future Forward.’
Noting that there was a booming presence of startups in the space sector, he said it is something that adds to the fact that space is affordable for many industries to come into.
“So, the seeds are being sown for India to become a big player in the commercial space,” he said.
With space technology undergoing a transformational phase in India, he said it was traditionally looked upon as demanding low volume, risk business with low returns and it was deterrent for many industries to look up at space even though it played important role in digital communication.
“But today, many things have changed and new technologies have enabled smaller, cheaper and more efficient satellites”, he said.
Stating 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 microelectronics, 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.