PRIVATE SECTOR IN SPACE PROGRAM OF INDIA




 PRIVATE SECTOR IN SPACE PROGRAME OF INDIA 




Why in news?

Prime Minister recently called for higher participation of the private sector in the space programme at inauguration event of the headquarters of Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Center ( IN_ SPACE) in Ahmedabad.  

More about news

●With formation of IN_ SPACE, space sector has now been opened up for private sector and has received close to 40 proposals from the private sector and academia for activities ranging from manufacturing of launch Vehicles and satellites to earth observation applications.

 ● It also noted that five private satellites have been tested at ISRO facilities, and four student satellites were launched aboard the PSLV C_ 51. 

■ Hyderabad's Dhruva Space Pvt Ltd and Bengaluru's Digantara research & technologies Pvt Ltd were authorized by IN __ SPACe for launch of payloads onboarding PSLV Orbital Experimental Module ( POEM) of PSLV__ C53.

 ■ Tata play signed a MoU with NSIL for uti

lizing the capacity on board the communication satellite GSAT__ 24, built by ISRO and launched by Arianespace.

  ● This helps in creating an ecosystem that will help India to take a huge leap in the field of space and space industry to become a huge contributor to our economy. 

 ■ Currently, India accounts for only about two per cent of the global  space economy, which is about USD 447 billion and expected to $ 1 trillion by 2040. 

India National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre ( IN __ SPACe) 

● IN _ SPACe is an autonomous, single window Nodal agency, formed to promote, authorise, monitor and supervise the space activities of Non_ Governmental Private Entities ( NGPEs) in India. 

● Mandate and functions 

■ Sharing of space infrastructure and premises under the control of ISRO.

 ■ Establishment of temporary facilities within premises under ISRO.

 ■ Establishment of new space infrastructure and facilities, by NGPEs.

● The decision of IN _ SPACe shall be final and binding on all stakeholders including ISRO. NGPEs will not be required to seek separate permission from ISRO.

 ● Composition: IN _ SPACe will have a chairman, technical experts for space activities, Safety expert, experts from Academia and Industries, members from Prime Minister's Office and Ministry of External Affairs. 

Advantages of private sector in space programme 

● Reduction in cost: Participation of private sector and start _ ups in space sector have an advantage in terms of low_ cost operations. 

■ For eg. Agnikul and Skyroot from Chennai and Hyderabad are developing launch vehicles and it is believed that through this, the cost of space launching will come down significantly. 

● Technology and innovation: Participation of private sector will give rise to new innovations and technology.

 ■ Eg. Hyderabad __ based startup Dhruva Space is working on high _ technology solar panels for satellites and Digantara, another space startup that is trying to map waste in space.

 ● Investment and capacity development: Private sector facilities investments in technology development and acquisition, capacity _ building and space exploration, including planetary exploration. 

● Harvesting talent pool: India has huge talent pool and searching for opportunities. So, participation of private entities in space sector helpes to harvest sizeable  talent pool available outside ISRO 

●Transparency and accountability: Expanding the number of stakeholders with participation of private entities will ensure more transparency and better accountability and regulatory practices.

  ● Competitiveness: With low cost, innovation and better talent pool in India's space will make more competitive with respect to global reputed, private space industry.

  ■ On private entrepreneurs' involvement India will emerge as a big player in ' space tourism' and ' space diplomacy '. 

● Fill communication infrastructure deficit: The vast amount of potential and resources available with the private sector will help the space industry to grow and fill in the communication infrastructure deficit by looking beyond the traditional modes of internet delivery and look for space __ based solutions.  

Role of private players in space sector 

Upstream opportunities 

● Core research and development of orbital systems launch vehicles, satellite propulsion and create the infrastructure to sustain the downstream  players.

● Key players in this are Bellatrix Aerospace _ satellite propulsion systems, Agnikul Cosmos _ 3D printed launch vehicles and Skyroot Aerospace __ small satellite launch systems. 

Downstream opportunities 

● Terrestrial value creation, such as weather and climate monitoring satellite communication, Broadcasting, selected GIS enabled services, earth imaging, defence, etc 

● key Players in this are Pixxel __ Earth observation, Kawa space _ Satellite imaging and weather observation and GalaxEye __ capture and provide insights from satellite imagery.

Other reforms to promote private players in space sector 




● New Space India Limited ( NSIL) 

■ It is country's first public sector undertaking in the space sector and commercial arm of ISRO aimed at production and marketing of space__ based services,  also empowered to own the operational launch vehicles and space assets of ISRO. ■ It enables better collaboration with start __ ups and private sector players without the hassle of government intervention  

Draft Spacecom Policy 2020

■ It aims at meeting the growing demands of space_ based communication requirements of the nation and advancements in the relevant technologies for self _ sustenance in areas of commercial, secured and societal communications. 

Concerns over participation of private entities in space sector 

● Monopolisation : Space technology is expensive and needs heavy investment and only few rich corporates are there to avail requirement. Thus, it can lead to monopolization of the space sector by few rich corporations.

 ● Profit interest: Private companies will have more profitable interests than developing solutions that cater to the immediate socio__ economic needs of the country.  

● Intellectual property issue: The private sector is particularly concerned about issues such as sharing intellectual property for products developed by them. But currently such intellectual property centric policy in space sector does not exist. 

● National security: There are concerns that private players may leak critical National security information that could create disaster than progress.  

● Policy bottlenecks: India lacks the policy and space law for private sector that can give openness and clarity about working Framework.  

Way forward 

● Incubator and Grant Programs: Research and development  of  space technology  is a long and costly process.  Hence, setting  up Incubator  and grant programs  that support  the sector during this initial  R&D phase will greatly  improve entrepreneurship  and investor participation , as well as increase the success  rate of these start-ups. 

● Space Qualification: Space quanue lification  refers to the testing  and proof of concept  demonstrated  of technologies  while in space. But due to higher costs most start-ups cannot  afford.  So, with ISRO's help in launching  payload, more start-ups  may  be able to afford  space qualification  tests multiple  times.

● Intellectual  Property  Centric Policy : There is need to create reforms  where local industry can invest in building  their own IP and / or products that can match global standards .

● Legislative  framework: India needs to develop a robust legislative  framework  for space to ensure  sustainable  and inclusive growth. 

 There are areas of space utilization that will be best fulfilled by the private  sector  and there are areas that are and will continue  to be best fulfilled by the public sector . Thus, the relationship  between  the two is symbiotic , not parasitic. 



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