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Indian Space Policy – 2023

  • Published
    21st Apr, 2023
Context

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) formally published Indian Space Policy, 2023.

Key Highlights of the Policy

The Indian Space Policy 2023 is a comprehensive set of guidelines that outlines the roles and responsibilities of different entities in the Indian space sector.

  • Research & Development: The policy aims to keep India at the cutting edge of space research and development. ISRO, the Indian Space Research Organisation, has been tasked with focusing on applied research, technology development, and human spaceflight capabilities.
  • Efficient collaboration between public and private sector: The policy outlines a strong emphasis on sharing technologies, products, processes, and best practices with New Generation Entities (NGEs) and Government companies.
  • Privatising: The policy permits non-government entities to undertake end-to-end activities in the space sector through the establishment and operation of space objects, ground-based assets and related services such as communication, remote sensing and navigation.
  • Democratizing Data for All: Data with a Ground Sample Distance (GSD) of 5 meters and higher will be made freely accessible on a timely basis.
    • This initiative promises to empower researchers, industries, and the general public with valuable information for various applications. In contrast, data with a GSD of less than 5 meters will be available for free to Government entities and at fair pricing for NGEs.
  • Focus on human spaceflight capabilities: ISRO will work on developing the necessary technologies, infrastructure, and ecosystem for sustained human presence in space. This ambitious goal promises to propel India into the ranks of spacefaring nations. Additionally, the policy emphasizes the development of a collaborative framework for scientific research in multidisciplinary domains related to human space activities.
  • Celestial Prospecting and In-situ Resource Utilization: ISRO is set to undertake studies and missions focused on in-situ resource utilization, celestial prospecting, and other aspects of extra-terrestrial habitability. This forward-looking approach will help India pave the way for future space exploration and utilization of resources beyond Earth.

Roles and responsibilities of organisations 

  • NewSpace India Limited: The Public Sector Undertaking, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), has been assigned responsibilities for commercializing space technologies and platforms, as well as servicing space-based needs of users, whether Government entities or NGEs.
    • By manufacturing, leasing, or procuring space components and assets, NSIL will operate on sound commercial principles, furthering the growth of India's space industry.
  • Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe): IN-SPACe will serve as the interface between ISRO and non-governmental entities. 
  • Department of Space: The Department of Space (DOS) will oversee the implementation of the Indian Space Policy-2023, ensuring that stakeholders are suitably empowered to carry out their respective functions.
    • From international cooperation to sustainable space operations, DOS will play a pivotal role in the successful execution of the policy.

India’s space sector (in-brief)

  • India's space sector is globally recognized for cost-effective satellite building, and it advocates for peaceful and civilian use of outer space.
  • ISRO has an exceptional success rate and is the 6th largest space agency globally. 
  • India has over 400 private space companies and ranks fifth globally in terms of the number of space companies. 
  • Recent developments include
    • setting up the Defence Space Agency (DSA)
    • expanding satellite manufacturing capabilities, which are expected to reach USD 3.2 billion by 2025
    • ISRO launched SAMVAD, a student outreach program to encourage space research among young minds
  • Challenges: However, the space sector faces major challenges as well including
    •  lack of regulations on commercialisation which could lead to monopolisation
    • rising space debris from increasing expeditions
    • China's rapid growth in the space industry and potential weaponization
    • increasing global trust deficit creating an environment of suspicion and potential conflict

Global space industry: The global space industry is currently valued at more than $400 billion and has the potential to become a $1 trillion industry by 2040.

What are the expected benefits of the new policy?

  • Enhancing the Indian space economy: The Policy is expected to have a significant impact on the Indian space economy. It aims to increase India's share in the global space economy from less than 2% to 10%. 
  • Making India a global space leader: Through a combination of research and development, collaboration, and innovation, the nation is poised to reach for the stars and solidify its position as a global space leader.
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