Over the past five decades, India’s space program has made remarkable strides, with a clear focus on implementing application-oriented initiatives that harness space technology for the benefit of the public. This concerted effort has positioned India as a key player in the global
space industry and catalysed the country’s scientific and technological growth. Recognising the expanding business opportunities in the space sector worldwide and the immense untapped potential in the country, the Government of India (GOI) has taken several initiatives to create a skilled workforce and develop technical capabilities. These initiatives aim to pave the way for India to become a major player in the global space market.
Establishing IN-SPACe, a single-window agency for private entities to engage in space sector activities, is one of the significant steps taken in India towards stimulating the growth of the private space sector economy in India. Additionally, the approval of the Indian Space Policy
2023 by the GOI can be regarded as another major milestone in India’s journey towards bolstering its capabilities in the space sector and achieving self-sufficiency in space technology. This policy is expected to play a crucial role in shaping India’s space activities and guiding the development of its space industry in the coming years.
The policy also aims to promote international cooperation in space research and exploration. This active collaboration will enable ISRO to explicitly concentrate on science, research and development, interplanetary exploration, and strategic launches while the private players can take up routine and commercial activities, launching weather and communication satellites, etc., helping ISRO give more time to space research. The policy also aims to establish a conducive environment for the private sector to participate in space activities, thereby boosting innovation and entrepreneurship in the space sector.
We strongly believe that the collaboration between the government and private space sector will enable better and broader opportunities for growth as well as employment. These collaborations will open a broader window to conduct research works and explore the
sections that are yet to be tested. The policy also has the potential to generate more capital which can expand space missions
widely. This collaboration can attract private industries to invest in various aspects such as the Production of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles, satellite communication systems, satellite- based broadband infrastructure, composite materials for aerospace applications, production of propellants, and electronic packages. It is expected that private companies like SpaceX and Boeing, and many start-ups in space-related works will also emerge in India soon as a result of this policy. Many academic institutions of excellence, such as IITs, NITs and IISERs in the public sector, and SRM University-AP in the private sector, are very active in cutting-edge research in space technology and its applications.
The collaboration between government departments, research organisations, academic institutions and private companies will enable researchers in weather forecasting, national resource mapping, e- governance, and disaster management. The accuracy of Indian satellite-aided navigation,
such as GAGAN and NaVIC, can be improved through collaborative work aiding in improved air traffic management. We are confident that with the introduction of this policy, Indian space research is expected to reach newer heights with more involvement of scientists and
Contributed by Prof. Manoj K Arora, Vice Chancellor, SRM University-AP and Dr Harish Puppala, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, SRM University-AP.
Views expressed are personal.