The Union Cabinet on Wednesday chaired a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and approved a series of new reforms in the space sector to boost new private investments. A new organization, the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) has been approved to take in space projects.
The new reforms will allow the Indian Space Research Organization(ISRO) to lay more focus on research and development activities, new technologies, exploration missions, and human spaceflight programs said the government.
IN-SPACe will provide a platform for private sector companies to use the Indian Space infrastructure. “ It will also hand-hold, promote and guide the private industries in space activities,” said Union minister of state Jitendra Singh, termed the decision as ‘historic’.
For the last 40years, the Indian space research organization(ISRO) achieved remarkable success feats at a very low budget compared to developed nations space organizations.
Discussions about allowing private players in the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) a few years back took place. ISRO in 2017 opened its door for private players for the first time by issuing a Request For Proposal (RFP) to the private industry to build satellites.
Many Indian companies have plans to develop their own technology and build rockets and use ISRO facilities to try out their products, for which ISRO can charge a specific amount.
ISRO launched its first private-sector manufactured satellite IRNSS-1H in August 2017, the launch, however, was declared unsuccessful.
In 2018, ISRO signed a deal with private players like Alpha Design Technologies Pvt Ltd, Bharat Electronics Limited, and the Tata to assemble satellites.
TeamIndus, a group of Bangalore based entrepreneurs signed a deal with ISRO to use its facilities. TeamIndus dreamt of landing a satellite on the moon and win the Google Lunar X Prize. However, they ran out of money.
Indian Society for Radiation Physics (ISRP) set up a new public sector company called ‘New Space India Limited’ (NSIL), similar to ISRO’s commercial arm, Antrix. The NSIL provides technical support and knowledge transfer between ISRO and private players for the development of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) launcher.
“The Public Sector Enterprise ‘New Space India Limited (NSIL)’ will endeavour to re-orient space activities from a ‘supply-driven’ model to a ‘demand-driven’ model, thereby ensuring optimum utilization of our space assets,” the Indian government said.
This decision will not only help the space sector to grow but will also enable the Indian Industry to become an important player in the global space economy. Investments will help ISRO to focus more on research and new missions.
The planetary exploration mission will also be open for private players to invest in. “Planetary exploration missions will also be opened up to the private sector through an ‘announcement of opportunity’ mechanism,” said Narendra Modi, Blog Post.
New investments will help in producing large scale employment opportunities in the technology sector along with technological advancements with expansion in the industrial base.
The newly proposed reforms will enhance the socio-economic use of space assets and activities, including improved access to the state’s space assets, data, and facilities.