Antrix Corporation

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Antrix Corporation Limited
Public Sector Undertaking
Industry Space; Communications
Founded 1992
Headquarters Bangalore, India
Key people
CMD V. S. Hegde
Services Satellite launch services; Satellite imagery
Revenue INR 13 Billion[1]
Website www.antrix.gov.in

Antrix Corporation Limited is the marketing arm of ISRO for promotion and commercialisation of space products, technical consultancy services and transfer of technologies developed by ISRO.[2][3] It was incorporated as a private limited company owned by the Indian government in September 1992.

Antrix provides space products and services to international customers worldwide. Its clientele includes EADS Astrium, Intelsat, Avanti Group, WorldSpace, Inmarsat, and other space institutions in Europe, Middle East and South East Asia.[2]

It was awarded 'Miniratna' status by the government in 2008 [2] and achieved a turnover of Rs. 13 billion in 2013–14.

Etymology[edit]

The name "Antrix" is an anglicised version of Antariksha, from the Sanskrit word for "space" or "sky".

Achievements[edit]

  • Successful launch of W2M satellite.
  • Successful supply of reliable satellite systems and sub-systems. Some of Antrix's better known customers are Hughes, Matra Marconi, World Space etc.
  • Successful Commercial Satellite Launches of Kitsat (Korea), Tubsat (DLR - Germany), BIRD (DLR - Germany), PROBA (Verhaert, Belgium) aboard the ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
  • Execution of many IOT / TTC support services to International Space Agencies. Some of the customers using Antrix services are World Space PANAMSAT, GE Americom, AFRISTAT etc.,
  • LEOP support, IOT, TTC.
  • Successful launch of TecSar(Israel).
  • Two satellites; one from France and another from Japan were launched in September 2012.
  • Successful launch of five satellites, including French SPOT 7 satellite on 30 June 2014

Business agreement[edit]

On 29 January 2014, Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix), the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), signed Launch Services Agreement with DMC International Imaging (DMCii), the wholly owned subsidiary of Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), United Kingdom (UK), for launch of three DMC-3 Earth Observation Satellites being built by SSTL, on-board ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). On 5 February 2014, Antrix signed another Launch Services Agreement with ST Electronics (Satcom & Sensor Systems) Pte Ltd, Singapore, for launch of TeLEOS-1 Earth Observation Satellite, on-board PSLV. These launches are planned during end 2014 to end 2015.[4] On September 29, 2014, Canada announced that it has decided to give the contract of the July 2015 launch of its M3M (Maritime Monitoring and Messaging Micro-Satellite) communications satellite to Antrix during the inauguration of the International Astronautical Congress at Toronto.[5]

Controversies[edit]

S-band spectrum scam[edit]

In India, electromagnetic spectrum, being a scarce resource for wireless communication, is auctioned by the Government of India to telecom companies for use. As an example of its value, in 2010, 20 MHz of 3G spectrum was auctioned for INR67700 crore (US$11 billion). However, in January 2005, Antrix Corporation signed a secret agreement with Devas Multimedia (a private company formed by former ISRO employees) for lease of S band transponders (amounting to 70 MHz of spectrum) on two ISRO satellites (GSAT 6 and GSAT 6A) for a price of INR1400 crore (US$220 million), to be paid over a period of 12 years. If this 70 MHz of spectrum was sold at the 2010 auction price of the 3G spectrum, its value would be over INR200000 crore (US$32 billion). Thus, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India considered the difference between the prices as a loss to the Indian Government.[6][7][8]

Antrix/ISRO had allocated capacity of the above two satellites to Devas Multimedia on an exclusive basis, while rules said it should always be non-exclusive. The Cabinet was misinformed in November 2005 that several service providers were interested in using satellite capacity, while the Devas deal was already signed. Also, the Space Commission was kept in the dark while taking approval for the second satellite (its cost was diluted so that Cabinet approval was not needed). ISRO committed to spending INR766 crore (US$120 million) of public money on building, launching and operating two satellites for Devas.[10]

Before signing the agreement with Antrix, Devas Multimedia had shareholding of INR1 lakh (US$1,600) and two promoters (D. Venugopal and M. Umesh). Post deal, the shareholding pattern quickly changed with one share of INR10 (16¢ US) going for as much as INR1.26 lakh (US$2,000). Devas shares were sold at a premium of INR12.26 lakh (US$19,000), taking the accumulated share premium to INR578 crore (US$92 million). In July 2008, Devas offloaded 17% of its stake to German company Deutsche Telekom for US$ 75 million, and by 2010 had 17 investors, including former ISRO scientists. This is the same as private players buying spectrum cheap and selling it for large profits.[11][12]

In late 2009, some ISRO insiders exposed information about the Devas-Antrix deal,[13] and the ensuing investigations resulted in the deal being annulled. G. Madhavan Nair (ISRO Chairperson when the agreement was signed) was barred from holding any post under the Department of Space. Some former scientists were found guilty of "acts of commission" or "acts of omission". Devas and Deutsche Telekom demanded US$ 2 billion and US$ 1 billion, respectively, in damages.[14] Government of India's Department of Revenue and Ministry of Corporate Affairs initiated an inquiry into Devas shareholding.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mini-ratna status for Isro's data arm". Business Standard. 2 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Antrix responsible for marketing ISRO tech". Times of India. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  3. ^ "ISRO's commercial arm Antrix gets new chief". The Hindu. 9 June 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  4. ^ http://isro.gov.in/scripts/news-6-2-14.aspx
  5. ^ "Antrix to launch Canadian Satellite". Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  6. ^ Sharma, Dinesh (6 February 2012). "Space-age scam: the murky plot behind Antrix-Devas deal revealed". Daily Mail. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  7. ^ Thakur, Pradeep (8 February 2011). "Another spectrum scam hits govt, this time from ISRO". The Times of India (New Delhi). Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  8. ^ "Behind the S-band spectrum scandal". The Hindu. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  9. ^ Sharma, Dinesh (6 February 2012). "Space-age scam: the murky plot behind Antrix-Devas deal revealed". Daily Mail. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  10. ^ Sharma, Dinesh (6 February 2012). "Space-age scam: the murky plot behind Antrix-Devas deal revealed". Daily Mail. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  11. ^ Sharma, Dinesh (6 February 2012). "Space-age scam: the murky plot behind Antrix-Devas deal revealed". Daily Mail. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  12. ^ Thakur, Pradeep (8 February 2011). "Another spectrum scam hits govt, this time from ISRO". The Times of India (New Delhi). Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  13. ^ "Behind the S-band spectrum scandal". The Hindu. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  14. ^ Jethmalani, Ram (22 August 2013). "Antrix Devas and the second generation scam". New Delhi: The New Indian Express. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  15. ^ Sharma, Dinesh (6 February 2012). "Space-age scam: the murky plot behind Antrix-Devas deal revealed". Daily Mail. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 

External links[edit]