Boeing’s plan to develop and market 2t-class communication satellites in a joint venture with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has come to a dead end. The US company is shifting its business focus to 4t-class spacecraft, and India’s expertise is confined to building 2- to 3t-class satellites.

US undersecretary for commerce Kenneth Juster announced in June last year that Boeing had been cleared to hold talks with ISRO, previously under US sanctions. Within the proposed joint venture, India would have used its “low-cost resources” to integrate Boeing-supplied payloads into ISRO-built satellite buses for offer on the global market at highly competitive prices.

ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair has confirmed the Boeing collaboration is not going forward, but did not elaborate. Sources familiar with doing business with India speculate that exasperation with the complex administrative procedures could have led Boeing to call it quits.

Antrix, the Bangalore-based commercial arm of the Indian space programme, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Europe’s EADS Astrium to jointly address the global market for communications satellites below 4kW power and a launch mass of 2-3t. The aim of the proposed tie-up is to combine the Insat-2K and -3K platforms with EADS Astrium payloads. Antrix is optimistic about the deal coming off.


Source: Flight International