India's space sector now open for private business
NEW DELHI – India has thrown open its space activities and facilities to the private sector, Dr Jitendra Singh, the Minister of State in the Department of Space, told the upper House of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, today.
This a sequel to a decision in June this year to create the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre, INSPACe, as part of reforming the country's space sector.
"INSPACe, under the Department of Space, will encourage, promote and hand-hold the private sector for their participation in space," Dr Singh said in a written statement to members of Parliament.
"Private players will also be able to use India’s space infrastructure through INSPACe." The decision of the government has been welcomed by members of the scientific community, he said.
Yesterday, K. Sivan, Secretary of the Department of Space and Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO, announced that the government is working out a comprehensive policy for launch of vehicles, rockets and for space exploration. He said the government will also incorporate into law a Space Act.
The announcements herald enhanced cooperation is the space sector between India and UAE, which is an important, new and emerging component of their bilateral relations.
In a joint statement at the end of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE two years ago, Modi and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the UAE, "welcomed proposed cooperation in the identified areas of remote sensing, space science, satellite navigation, launching services, academic cooperation and industry interactions."
The joint statement also said "both sides welcomed the launch of UAE Nano satellite Nayif-1 by Indian Space Research Organisation in February, 2017." Sivan said the ISRO is cooperating with the UAE Space Agency since its inception.
The Indian Minister also told Parliament today that "the role of New Space India Limited, NSIL, in the reformed space sector would be to build and launch vehicles, provide launch services, build satellites, provide space-based services and facilitate technology transfers." NSIL was incorporated as the commercial arm of the Department of Space in Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s national budget for the financial year 2019-20.
There are more than 500 companies that partner with ISRO in carrying out space activities, but mainly as suppliers hitherto. Dr Singh said the government will now allow the private sector to utilize the infrastructure of the ISRO for their activities. WAM