A launch window for India as a space start-up hub
- The great space race of the 20th century was kicked off by the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik in 1957.
- It was a competition between the world’s great powers, a test of their ideologies, which proved to be a synecdoche of the entire Cold War between the capitalist United States and the socialist Soviet Union.
- The space race is on again, but this time, private players are on the power field to take the next leap for mankind and democratise space usage to build commercial value.
- This has huge implications for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the space sector in India and is a promising venture for global investors.
India’s space sector:
- Space-related activities in India were started with the setting up of the Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) in 1962.
- However, The Indian space programme began in November 1969 with the establishment of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
- India created the Space Commission and established the Department of Space (DOS) in June 1972 and brought ISRO under the Department of Space in September 1972.
- Department of Space performs the responsibility of promoting the development of space science, technology and applications towards achieving self-reliance and assisting in the all-around development of India.
Private sector contribution in India’s space:
- With all the missions being handled by ISRO themselves, the contribution of the private sector in these space programs often goes unrecognised.
- Given below the important pointers to describe the contribution of private agencies in the Indian space missions:
- A large part of the manufacturing of rockets and assets is done by the private sector.
- More and more research institutions have started showing involvement and interest in the space missions.
- Also, with the involvement of the private sector in the space missions, more capital may be generated which can expand the space missions widely.
- The demand for satellites and space assets has also been increasing with the requirement for Earth-observing satellites to monitor any natural calamity or missions to save the space assets from debris have also been initiated by ISRO.
- Considering this, more missions and man-power may soon be required to manage the space programs. Thus, IN-SPACe will also prove to be a benefit in this department as well.
The hurdles for India in Space sector:
- Another aspect to throw light on is the extensive brain drain in India, which has increased by 85% since 2005.
- This can be linked to the bottlenecks in policies which create hindrances for private space ventures and founders to attract investors, making it virtually non-feasible to operate in India.
- Currently, a report on a leading news portal says: the reason for the lack of independent private participation in space includes the absence of a framework to provide transparency and clarity in laws.
- The laws need to be broken down into multiple sections, each to address specific parts of the value chain and in accordance with the Outer Space Treaty (or the United Nations resolution, the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies).
- Dividing activities further into upstream and downstream space blocks will allow legislators to provide a solid foundation to products/services developed by the non-governmental and private sectors within the value chain, it adds.