Appointing a full-time chairman for ISRO's commercial arm, Antrix Corporation, may be a prime subject the Space Commission could take up on Saturday.

If approved, Antrix would continue to be headed by a technocrat but who is not ISRO chief, for the first time since its creation.

Such a proposal has been considered for about three months following an internal review initiated by the ISRO Chairman last year, as Business Line learns.

Antrix was formed in 1992 and was headed by an Executive Director as the operational head under the ISRO Chairman - who is also the Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman of the Space Commission.

The arm saw two Executive Directors in these years and the post was recently upgraded to that of Managing Director.

Also on the Antrix board are Ratan Tata and Adi Godrej - on whose companies ISRO relies for critical systems and components for satellites and launch vehicles.

Until this week, no one actively knew or worried about when the Space Commission met or what it discussed. The super body of technocrats and top bureaucrats that looks over the projects and matters of the Department of Space has been known to exist but not seen or heard of in common circles.

Saturday's meeting is not an emergency one. When it was convened for February 12 more than a month back, little did it or others dream of the publicity it would face or the agenda that is being forced on it.

For the nine-member Space Commission, it was to have been a routine meeting in Delhi, where most of its members are, ahead of the Budget, to approve 2011-12 Budget estimates of the Department of Space and to endorse the revised estimates of the past year, as Business Line learns.

It was to have considered a proposal for ISRO to participate in a project with NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab; and consider a scholarship in California university, Caltech.

These are still on the cards but are certain to get drowned in the din surrounding the Antrix-Devas deal of 2005.

The elite body is chaired by the Secretary, Department of Space/ISRO Chairman. The Cabinet Secretary, the Prime Minister's Principal Secretary, the Law and Finance Secretaries, the National Security Adviser are among its members.

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