Jul 18, 2010

India Space Inc, a $125 bn industry

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NEW DELHI: In the present business world scenario where razzmatazz and blitzkrieg are the buzzwords to build up a brand, here lies an industry that is worth over $125 billion and yet we have never heard of any chest-thumping from its top players.

That’s Space Inc, an industry where the goals are infinite. The estimated worth quoted above is merely in the field of satellite manufacturing. If one adds sensory data sale, payload charges, and technological spin-offs, the net worth will manifold. “The potential is humongous,” says Dr K Radhakrishnan, chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He is quick to point out that the primary job of space sciences, nevertheless, is not money-making.

True, indeed. From ancient sea-farers to astrologers, and from Aryabhatt to Asimov, human kind has always looked upon the skies for direction and guidance, not moolah. But as telecommunication and broadcasting take giant strides globally, piggyriding the advances made in space, it is payback time for the investments made in space sciences.

Understanding this business aspect, India too launched a marketing arm of ISRO, Antrix in 1992. The motive behind such an entity in a state-managed space research organisation was clear: promotion and commercial exploitation of space products, services and transfer of technologies developed by ISRO. “It was a logical step,” says KR Sridhara Murthi, managing director of Antrix.

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