National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe)

Context

The Government of India has launched a new initiative by the name Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) to provide a level playing field for private companies to use Indian space infrastructure, which will be extended into the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

About

  • The new Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), which is expected to be functional within six months, will-
    • assess the needs and demands of private players, including educational and research institutions
    • explore ways to accommodate these requirements in consultation with ISRO
  • IN-SPACe is supposed to be a facilitator, and also a regulator. It will act as an interface between ISRO and private parties, and assess how best to utilise India’s space resources and increase space-based activities.
  • Existing ISRO infrastructure, both ground- and space-based, scientific and technical resources, and even data are planned to be made accessible to interested parties to enable them to carry out their space-related activities.
  • National Space, Promotion & Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) will help private players through encouraging policies, through a regulatory environment that is friendly as well as guiding private players in space activities.
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will remain the basic body that decides what missions are to be undertaken but this new body will help fill the gaps.

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)

  •  India decided to go to space when Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) was set up by the Government of India in 1962.
  • With the visionary Dr Vikram Sarabhai at its helm, INCOSPAR set up the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in Thiruvananthapuram for upper atmospheric research.
  • Indian Space Research Organisation, formed in 1969, superseded the erstwhile INCOSPAR. 
  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is the pioneer space exploration agency of the Government of India, headquartered at Bengaluru.
  • The prime objective of ISRO is to develop space technology and its application to various national needs.

What is the need to involve private sector?

  • Low rate of investment: Indian space industry had a barely 3 percent share in a rapidly growing global space economy which was already worth at least $360 billion.
    • Only 2 percent of this market was for rocket and satellite launch services, which require fairly large infrastructure and heavy investment.
    • The remaining 95 percent related to satellite-based services, and ground-based systems.
  • Less competitive: Indian industry, however, is unable to compete, because till now its role has been mainly that of suppliers of components and sub-systems.
  • Lack of resources and technologies: Indian industries do not have the resources or the technology to undertake independent space projects.
  • Insufficient production: Additionally, the demand for space-based applications and services is growing even within India, and ISRO is unable to cater to this. The need for satellite data, imageries and space technology now cuts across sectors, from weather to agriculture to transport to urban development, and more.

How will it enhance the space game?

  • IN-SPACe will ensure equal participation from private players through encouraging policies in a friendly regulatory environment.
  • The new initiative will also hand-hold, promote and guide the private industries in space activities.
  • With the aid of Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe), Indian start-ups and technology entrepreneurs will be linked up with nuclear research facilities through technology development and incubation centres to foster synergies.

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