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India Opens Private Commercial Space Operations Via IN-SPACe, ISRO to Handle R&D

An ISRO satellite launch. (Image for representation)

An ISRO satellite launch. (Image for representation)

With a newly formed PSU, New Space India Limited (NSIL), India will open up the involvement of private companies in commercial space operations.

Shouvik Das
  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: June 24, 2020, 8:36 PM IST
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Indian government has opened up its space sector for private players officially, via a newly created arm that will coordinate with private companies and startups to undertake commercial operations. The arm is called Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), and will be the coordinating body behind all private operations that can make use of the existing Indian space infrastructure. According to a union government announcement, this leaves India’s premier space organisation ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), which is backed by the government, to take on more research and development roles.

The announcement has also stated that the public sector organisation, New Space India Limited (NSIL), which was formed in 2019, will handle all space operations and coordinate depending on activities. This may see India take on a model similar to USA, where a government-backed public entity would oversee all space operations. According to the government announcement, ISRO would now “focus more on research and development activities, new technologies, exploration missions and human spaceflight programme.” However, the government has stated that certain exploration missions may also be opened up to private sector operators, depending on a mission-wise case.

According to the release, NSIL will also “hand-hold, promote and guide the private industries in space activities through encouraging policies and a friendly regulatory environment.” This opens up India’s space sector officially for private players for the first time, after India announced opening up of multiple public sector industries for better involvement of private players. This is being designed to revive the Indian economy, and boost revenues by attracting regional investments from foreign players as well.

“India is among a handful of countries with advanced capabilities in the space sector. With these reforms, the sector will receive new energy and dynamism, to help the country leapfrog to the next stages of space activities. This will not only result in an accelerated growth of this sector but will enable Indian Industry to be an important player in global space economy. With this, there is an opportunity for large-scale employment in the technology sector and India becoming a global technology powerhouse,” the union government said in a media release.

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