From the launch of the first Indian satellite Aryabhatta in 1975 to the latest Chandrayaan-3 mission to the Moon, India has established itself among the leading spacefaring Nations, under the leadership of ISRO’s Indian Space Program – ably supported by Private and Public sector industries. The Indian Space sector is today at an inflection point with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s role transitioning from the one entirely driving the Space Sector ecosystem to the one continuing to explore the deep space, pursue research and assuming the role of a mentor, enabling and handholding of the new era startups bringing in fresh breath of innovation and collaboration in the sector.
Thus, the Indian Space sector is at the cusp of a major transformation with the rise of NewSpace – characterized and driven by democratization of space and the participation of private companies in space activities. In addition to the conventional usage of space, these NewSpace companies & startups are using innovative technologies and business models to deliver space-based products and services that are more affordable, accessible, and responsive to the evolving market needs and, in the process, contribute to increasing India’s share of Global Space economy.
The Government of India has been embarked on several reforms to boost the domestic Space sector, including the establishment of IN-SPACe to promote hand hold and authorize Space activities, and NSIL for providing launch services; released the Space Policy, multiple consultation papers for stakeholder inputs and feedback prior to implementation. This is changing the landscape of the Indian Space industry under the guidance, hand holding and authorization by INSPACe. The Indian Space Policy 2023 also has defined the roles for ISRO, NSIL and IN-SPACe and opened up the sector for unrestricted participation by non-Govt entities. The upcoming FOi policy and the anticipated Space activities bill is expected to redefine and refine the picture better and attract investments in the Indian Space sector to build a vibrant NewSpace ecosystem in India. Consequently, India is emerging as a heavyweight contender on the global stage alongside major space-faring nations.
To bring forth various nuances of Indian Space ecosystem, understanding the current trends in terms of policies, investments, collaborations, technology and its impact, CII and Deloitte have come out with a comprehensive handbook on Indian Space ecosystem. I am sure that this report will serve as a valuable resource for readers interested in understanding the Indian Space sector as well as bring in clarity in direction of evolving policies. I hope that it will inspire more people to join the NewSpace movement and contribute to the advancement of space exploration and utilization of space gainfully for growth of space economy.
This article was contributed by Mr Jayant Damodar Patil, Chairman, CII National Committee on Space, Director and Senior Executive Vice President (Defence Business), Larsen and Toubro Limited, and was first published in the report “NewSpace: India Perspective”.