BENGALURU: With the Union Cabinet approving private sector participation in space activities, K. Sivan, chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Thursday said private industry will be allowed to undertake research and development and participate in inter-planetary missions.
IN-SPACE (Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre) that was cleared by the Centre on Wednesday, will perform the role of a regulator and have on its board members from the private industry, Sivan said.
He said that the centre will act as a nodal agency to hand-hold and promote private sector participation.
“They (private sector) can directly apply to IN-SPACE which will evaluate and process,” he said. He added that the decision taken by IN-SPACE would be binding on Isro.
“It will take about three to six months for this mechanism to become operational, but the industry need not wait that long. They can approach DoS (department of space) right away and be assured that their proposals will be processed in a fast-track manner,” Sivan said.
ISRO said that IN-SPACE will have its own independent directorates for technical, legal, safety & security, monitoring as well as activities promotion for assessing the private industry requirements and further coordinating the activities.
The plan envisages opening up of space assets and data to private players to help create a level playing field in the sector. Sivan said opening up the sector was also part of the larger vision transforming India to become self-reliant through a set of socio-economic reforms. “The reforms in the space sector are aimed at tapping the potential of (the) entire country for unlocking its potential by enabling private enterprises and start-ups to undertake end-to-end space activities,” he said.
The reforms are also aimed at mitigating the high investments required to set up facilities.
“An open and inclusive space sector will result in accelerated growth, job creation as well as innovations and will enable Indian Space Industry to be a significant player in (the) global space economy,” Isro said in its statement.
Sivan added that the role of NewSpace India Ltd. (NSIL), under the Department of Science is being re-defined to transform the approach of supply driven model to demand driven model for space based services.
He said that NSIL will be empowered to off-load operational activities of Isro in the areas of launch vehicle & satellite production, launch services as well as space based services to allow the space agency to allocate more time and resources for R&D endeavours.
“A new Navigation Policy is also being proposed. Suitable changes in remote sensing data policy as well as SATCOM policy are also on the anvil. These changes are aimed at aligning these policies to an open and inclusive space sector,” he said.