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Private spacecraft centre soon in Devanahalli

The new facility will start functioning at Devanahalli in a few months

Bengaluru, home to the country’s space headquarters, looks set to also host the country’s first spacecraft production facility in the private sector.

The new facility, designed for building 2,000-kg communication and Internet broadband spacecraft, is slated to start functioning in a few months at Devanahalli here.

“Our satellite and systems unit is getting ready at Bengaluru and we plan to formally inaugurate it in the second quarter [fiscal] of 2019, that is during the June-September period,” said Anurup Pavuluri, Director of Ananth Technologies Ltd.

The Hyderabad-based family-run company has put up the satellite centre at an estimated cost of ₹150-200 crore. The facility is being built on 3.5 acres of land at Bengaluru’s aerospace park north of the city.

The State Government is developing a 1,000-acre hub at Devanahalli to promote aerospace, defence and high-technology industries and has earmarked 252 acres there as an export-focussed special economic zone for these sectors.

“We want to be the first full-fledged private sector player in assembly integration and testing of satellites in the country,” Mr. Pavuluri told The Hindu recently. “Today, there is demand for satellites from within the country and outside. The government-run ISRO is the sole player in this niche,” he said.

Systems for missiles

An immediate deal is in the process for providing a set of Internet broadband satellites, he said. Besides space systems and satellite imagery services, Ananth also manufactures systems for missiles such as Akash and BrahMos that are made in the country.

Mr. Pavuluri said Ananth’s entry into making full spacecraft was an extension of its space-related activities of many years. It supplies systems for spacecraft, launch vehicles and spacecraft command systems of the Indian Space Research Organisation ISRO.

About 150 employees are already working in its space programme activities in Bengaluru and some more staff would be recruited. Initially the new Space Systems Facility centre would take up assembly of satellites on the ‘i2k’ or 2,000-kg platform. The facility was designed to make four such satellites at a time or two satellites of 4,000-kg category.

About the expertise needed for a niche activity, he said Ananth already has a pool of employees who either worked for or retired from ISRO; his father and company’s founding CEO P.Subba Rao, he said, was also with ISRO for over a decade.

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