ISRO Chairman Dr. K. Sivan Photograph:( PTI )
On the enthusiastic participation of private players after the 2020 Space reforms, Dr Sivan said that over 40 applications and proposals from private players were under various stages of consideration. Of this, a major chunk of the applications came in from start-ups and newly incorporated firms.
Dr K Sivan, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), said that the recent successful spaceflight of billionaire entrepreneurs from the US has made commercial space travel a reality. Referring to the reforms that were introduced in the Indian space sector in 2020, he said that space was no longer confined to Indian government activities alone.
He emphasised that India’s private sector is playing a role in everything ranging from building rockets, satellites, owning satellites, offering space-based services and mission services. He also encouraged India’s entrepreneurs, saying that a new FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) policy was in the works for the space domain.
Addressing the inaugural session of the ‘Building NewSpace in India’ International Space Conference and Exhibition, Dr Sivan, who also serves as Secretary, Department of Space, spoke about the plethora of opportunities that lay in store for India’s space sector.
"In terms of ground-based services, there is mobile broadband and connectivity for the Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Small satellites have proven significantly useful for both communication and earth observation purposes, and the demand for high-throughput (generally more than 100Gb/s data transfer) satellites is ever-growing. "
Referring to the larger national goals such as sustainable development, digital economy, he emphasised that space technology and its applications would play a major role. He expressed confidence that Indian private industry was ready to support the country in achieving its space goals and urged the different stakeholders, public and private, to work in a synergic manner.
On the enthusiastic participation of private players after the 2020 Space reforms, Dr Sivan said that over 40 applications and proposals from private players were under various stages of consideration. Of this, a major chunk of the applications came in from start-ups and newly incorporated firms. A case in point is the recent MoU that ISRO and the Indian startup Skyroot Aerospace signed for testing the latter’s rocket hardware at the former’s facilities.
"The Space FDI Policy is getting revised and it will open up a huge avenue of opportunities. Foreign companies can tie up with Indian ones and this will enable the combine to be competitive with global space players. There is a lot of interest from abroad in collaboration, " Dr Sivan said.
On the future role of ISRO, he said the state-run agency would concentrate its efforts and resources on R&D and space science missions, to reduce the technology gap. He went on to say that ISRO's facilities and expertise would be used to help the economy by combining the efforts of the government and the private sector.