Science & Tech

India’s Space Industry Has Massive Potential

To capitalise on the potential of the Second Space Age and its rapidly rising space economy, India need an enabling policy and regulatory framework.

What exactly is the Second Space Age?

  • Commercialization: The Second Space Age, which began in the early 2000s, refers to the recent era of greater commercialization and private sector involvement in space exploration.
  • The emergence of private space firms: This age has seen the rise of private space enterprises such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic, which are substantially investing in space technology and infrastructure.
  • Today’s space domain includes many more actors who were once dominated by the US and USSR: In comparison to the First Space Age, which was dominated by the United States and the Soviet Union, today’s space domain contains many more actors, the vast majority of which are private corporations. Since 2020, private firms have accounted for 90% of worldwide space launches, and India is no exception.
  • Non-spacefaring states are becoming more involved: The Second Space Age is also distinguished by the increased participation of non-spacefaring nations in space exploration and the development of technology that permit wider access to space for both commercial and scientific objectives.
  • Exploration: It is hoped that this new period would result in achievements in fields such as space tourism, asteroid mining, and Mars settlement, among others.

India’s Space Journey

  • India’s space voyage began slowly in the 1960s.
  • Developing satellite technology for mass communication, remote sensing for weather forecasting, resource mapping of forests, agricultural yields, groundwater and watersheds, fisheries and urban management, and satellite-aided navigation have all been prioritised by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) over the years.
  • ISRO also developed satellite launch capabilities, beginning with the SLV-1 in the 1980s and continuing with the PSLV series, which has become its workhorse with over 50 successful launches.

India’s Space Capability

  • Economy and employment: India’s space economy is predicted to grow from $9.6 billion in 2020 to $13 billion by 2025. However, with the right policies and regulations in place, the Indian space industry may be worth more than $60 billion by 2030, directly producing more than two lakh employment.
  • Downstream businesses such as satellite services and associated ground sector dominate, accounting for more than 70% of India’s space economy.
  • Media and entertainment make for 26% of India’s space economy, with consumer and retail services accounting for the remaining 21%.

The Private Sector’s Expanding Role

  • Increasing space start-ups: With over 100 space start-ups today, the Indian private sector is responding to the demands of the Second Space Age. From less than $3 million in 2018, investment in the sector has more than doubled in 2019 and is expected to reach $65 million by 2021.
  • Economic multiplier effect potential: The sector is primed to take off as a transformative growth multiplier, similar to what the information technology industry achieved for the national economy in the 1990s.

Moving Forward: Creating an Enabling Environment

  • ISRO must prioritise research and engage with the Indian business sector, which has a variety of interests and expectations.
  • To foster an enabling environment for the private sector, India need a space activity act that establishes a regulatory authority and allows for venture capital investing into the Indian space start-up business.
  • Despite the distribution of a number of policy papers in recent years, legislation is required to offer legal support and establish an enabling climate for private sector growth.

@the end

The Indian space industry has immense potential, but realising it will necessitate an enabling governmental and regulatory environment that promotes private sector growth. India may capitalise on the Second Space Age and become a key role in the global space economy by enacting a space activities act that gives legal backing, establishes a regulatory authority, and allows for venture capital funding.

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