Elections rouse emotions. Especially one where 900 million people will vote to elect their leaders this month. That, to an extent, explains the timing and the ensuing chest-thumping after India demonstrated its ability to destroy targets in space by shooting down one of its own satellites late last month. It, however, doesn’t explain this under-the-radar activity: creating a new public sector company under the Department of Space (DOS), which already owns another public sector company, Antrix Corporation Ltd. Created 26 years ago, Antrix has since been the commercial arm of ISRO, selling its technologies and services.
On 19 February, a 9:30PM Press Information Bureau release said that the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved setting up of a new company, “to commercially exploit the research and development work carried out by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Centers and constituent units of DOS.”
Conspicuously, the news went unreported.