BENGALURU: Aerospace firm Ananth Technologies will set up a joint venture with US satellite operator Saturn Satellites to build two communication satellites initially and launch them using the Indian space agency’s workhorse PSLV rocket.
Ananth is the first Indian company to tap the global market after India opened up its space sector, allowing private firms to build satellites and rockets and offer space services from the country.
The Hyderabad-based company will build the 300-700 kg satellites at its newly opened facility in Bengaluru and launch them using the Indian Space Research Organisation’s tried and tested Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.
The launch will be managed by New Space India Ltd, an entity created to engage with the industry to build and launch satellites on Indian soil.
The joint venture will be named SaAn Satellite Networks India.
“There are very few companies who make communication satellites in this (300-700 kg) class. Rest of the world is concentrating on smaller satellites. PSLV is uniquely placed to be most economical and proven to launch them,” Subba Rao Pavuluri, chairman and managing director of Ananth Technologies, told ET.
Ananth will build the NationSat communication satellite for both the global market as well as tap the Indian market, which allows private firms to operate satellites.
Indian companies can build satellites at 30% lower costs than in the West, besides renting the existing space infrastructure built by Isro to offer end-to-end integrated satellite building capabilities to launch services at competitive rates, he said.
Ananth has been a supplier of satellite systems and sub-systems for India’s space agency and has integrated the solar panels for these satellites. Its new facility is designed to fully integrate satellites for both local and overseas customers.
The country’s decades-long expertise in building satellites has helped create a critical talent base, which gives it an opportunity to tap outsourcing opportunities to make them in India.
The PSLV has emerged as the preferred rocket to hurl small and medium satellites into space. The rocket will deliver its 50th mission later in December.
Antrix Corp, the commercial arm of Isro, had contracted in the past with EADS Astrium to build a communication satellite for British media firm Avanti Screenmedia Group Plc.
Other upcoming full-fledged satellite production initiatives include the proposed production facility to be built jointly Berlin Space Technologies and Ahmedabad-based Azista Aerospace.