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Antrix Chief talks about Small Sats, re-usable and heavy launch vehicles

In an exclusive interview with Geospatial World, S. Rakesh, Chairman and Managing Director, Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix) talks about Small Sats, re-usable and heavy launch vehicles.

Q. Do you think the small satellite launch vehicle will be commercially viable?

This is something we are working on. Of course, the first cut is showing that the market is positive towards it. We will be slightly different from what is happening around the world. Given the track record and knowledge ISRO has, we feel it will be possible. But we are doing a detailed analysis on the market as well as on the small satellite launch vehicle itself, to see whether it will be commercially viable and profitable in the future. Post that, we will be embarking on it.

Q. What is your take on the reusability concept of launch vehicles?

ISRO is working on the reusability concept. We hope to that this technology will be proven in the near future and that it will bring in further commercial value to the proposition that we are offering to the customers. It is in the developmental phase and commercial application has to be worked out after due analysis.

Q. What is the progress on the heavy lift launchers and has Antrix started marketing it?

ISRO has developed new heavy lift launcher. In the near future, it will have 4 tonnes and later on 6 tonnes launch capabilities that will meet future requirements of ISRO. We are probing market opportunities and require a commercial launch for it. Unlike PSLVs, this will require a full launch vehicle being bought by a customer and for this the launch vehicle needs to be available to us. So right now, there is a lot of requirement for meeting the domestic demand itself. We are discussing with potential customers and seeing where in the next 3-4 years timeframe, we can have a launch. Though, things are looking positive.

Q. What is your take on the Space Activities Bill, 2017?

The policy has been long awaited one. I am happy it has come out now and we need to work closely with the Indian industry. It should be an enabler. There has been a lot of skepticism from the industry about the Act. But I would like to take this opportunity to say that the Act will have many clauses that is only to meet various eventualities that may come in such kind of business. It is meant to be an enabler for the people. Hopefully, in the near future we should be seeing the Act coming in.