Isro, Measat join forces to create satellite capacity powerhouse

MUMBAI: Indian Space Research Organisation's commercial arm Antrix Corporation and Malaysia's Measat Global Bhd. have signed an agreement to form a joint venture company to pool their satellite capacities.

The JV will leverage capacity from both the high powered Indian INSAT and Malaysian Measat satellite fleets to provide commercial satellite services across the wider Asia-Pacific region.

By pooling agreed capacity from these neighbouring satellites in the strategically located orbital slots of 93.5E and 91.5E, the JV will be able to provide C-band satellite services to over 70 per cent of the world's population, and Direct-to-Home (DTH) quality Ku-band satellite services to over 160 million TV households across South Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia and Indochina.

The JV, which will be equally owned by the two companies, represents a significant breakthrough and major step in the ongoing cooperation between the Indian and Malaysian satellite sectors. The move is to develop a satellite neighbourhood for millions of broadcasting and telecommunications customers across the wider Asia Pacific region, says an official release.

According to the release, Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Malaysian Prime Minister YAB Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi witnessed the signing of the landmark agreement.

"We have been working closely with Measat across a number of areas over the last few years, including the provision of consultancy services to Measat for the procurement of its satellite" says Antrix executive director KR Sridhara Murthi. "We are excited to be able to extend our cooperation through this joint venture, and position INSAT to be a leading satellite system serving the wider Asia-Pacific market."

As part of the ongoing cooperation between the two organizations, Measat has also signed a Letter Of Intent with Antrix to procure a new satellite, MEASAT-4, from ISRO. The satellite will provide additional Ku-band capacity for the Measat fleet, as well as the opportunity for the Indian and Malaysian space communities to work together.

Detailed discussions on technical and commercial issues are at an advanced stage, with the satellite expected to be procured for scheduled launch Q1 2007.

"We have used Indian Space technology and expertise on the MEASAT-1 and MEASAT-3 programs," says Measat Satellite Systems director Y.Bhg. Tun Haji Mohammed Hanif Omar. "We are pleased to be able to work with ISRO and Antrix on a new satellite which will further our joint interests across the region," Tun Hanif concludes.

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