Space Now Officially Open To Indian Private Sector

Space Now Officially Open To Indian Private Sector

The recent union cabinet meet has decided to open India’s space sector for private players and has announced a new autonomous body IN-SPACe – Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre under the Ministry of Atomic Energy and Space to encourage private players to invest in the space industry.
Complete Coverage: Private Race For Space

Crux of the Matter

IN-SPACe will be a new autonomous body formed to regulate and permit the entry of private players in the space industry. Having its own directorates for security, legal, promotion and monitoring purposes it will act as a national nodal agency for hand-holding and promoting private sector in space endeavours.

We believe that private players should play a larger role than just supplying the parts and components. India is among a handful of countries which have advanced Space technology and this can play a significant role in boosting the industrial base of the country.

K Sivan, ISRO Chief

Till now ISRO was the only player working in the space research, missions, launching, and management of the satellites but with this significant reform, private players will be allowed to launch and control the broadcast satellites and provide end to end space commercial services.

Private players can now undertake the research activities and work with ISRO in various science and interplanetary missions and also will be allowed to build rockets and satellites, provide launching services, and own satellites.

Recalibration Of NSIL
New Space India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of ISRO which had the primary responsibility of enabling Indian industries to take up high technology space-related activities now has been recalibrated to transform its approach from a supply-driven to a demand-driven model.

NSIL will take over ISRO’s responsibilities of operational launch vehicles, satellites, and commercial activities and will now handle all future technology transfer of small satellite manufacturing as well as SSLV and PSLV on behalf of ISRO.

Challenges & Role of ISRO
India barely has a barely in the global space economy which is already worth $360 billion. 95% of this market is related to satellite-based services, and ground-based systems whereas only 2% of this is for rocket and satellite launch services requiring large infrastructure and heavy investment.

Currently, the private industry involvement in India’s space sector is limited to the manufacturing and fabrication of rockets and satellites. Private players have also been unable to compete because they lack the technology to undertake independent space projects like SpaceX and have a limited role of being suppliers of components and sub-systems.

The demand for space-based applications and services is growing even within India, and ISRO is unable to cater to this. The need for satellite data, imageries, and space technology has been growing tremendously and to meet the demand ISRO would have to be expanded 10 times the current level.

With IN-SPACe focusing on private players, the ISRO Chief clarified that ISRO’s activities will not be reduced and it will continue to work on advanced research and development, interplanetary missions, human spaceflight, and capacity building in the space sector.

Industry Reactions
Space industry experts have welcomed the reforms but have also voiced out the need to handhold the new players in the initial period till they establish their own costly setups. It is seen as an excellent move which not only will unlock the full potential of the Indian space sector but also will contribute to providing employment and increasing exports.

“This will enable private players to participate in the space programme independently or in collaboration with ISRO and also enable them to access ISRO”s facilities.”

Dr Tapan Misra, Senior Advisor, ISRO & Former Director, Space Applications Centre, ISRO

An anonymous ISRO official has cautioned about the friction that will arise until the mechanisms are put in place and there is clear identification of responsibilities, resources, and manpower.

Former ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishan points out to the fact that elsewhere in the world the private industry and space-start-ups are becoming the drivers of the new space age whereas India is ridden with challenges in international marketing of strategic high technology products and services.

We should look forward to preserving the ‘soul of ISRO’ and its exceptional traits while implementing this historic and significant transition.

K. Radhakrishnan, Former ISRO Chairman
  • Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput had bought a piece of lunar land on the far side of the moon. The region that he bought is called the Mare Muscoviense or the ‘Sea of Muscovy.’ He had bought the property from the International Lunar Lands Registry.
  • The Outer Space Treaty is a treaty that forms the basis of international space law. Among the Outer Space Treaty’s main points are that it prohibits the placing of nuclear weapons in space, it limits the use of the Moon and all other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes only, and establishes that space shall be free for exploration and use by all nations, but that no nation may claim sovereignty of outer space or any celestial body.
  • Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai was an Indian physicist and astronomer who initiated space research and helped develop nuclear power in India. He is internationally regarded as the Father of the Indian Space Program.

Private Race For Space

The recent reforms provided in the Finance Ministry’s Stimulus Package have offered an opportunity to the private sector to enter the Space-tech field. The move has offered hopes for increased production and employment.

Crux of the Matter

The Reforms
The major reforms to increase the private sector’s role in space-tech are as follows:

  • Private companies would be allowed to use ISRO facilities.
  • Outer-space exploration made open to the private sector.
  • Tax for Maintenance, Reform, and Overhaul of Aviation revised to attract the Aviation industry to India.
  • Measures to increase private-sector’s role in Indian Space market

Expert Analysis
Dr. Tapan Mishra, a Senior Adviser to ISRO, provided an analysis of the reforms and suggested the paradigm for success in the measure:

  • Business worth ₹125,000 crores could be targeted after reforms.
  • Space sector must be divided as follows
    • Innovation: To be held by Govt as innovation would require job security, a relaxed environment, and advanced technology that the Govt provides.
    • Operation and Production: To be held by the private sector as it can employ a large number of people in production which would not require specialized labor as needed in Innovation. It would also require a business mindset to increase production which the private sector provides.
  • ISRO should initially aid industries regarding innovation in production as the private sector lacks ISRO level facilities.
  • He also suggested opening Satellite application and data research to start-ups which can work on small capital while employing highly innovative minds.
  • He also suggested the opening of Remote sensing data to citizens, which would find increased utility and would increase the scientific interest of people.

    Overall, the experts have welcome the Govt measures which would open the space-tech to market.

Space commerce is expected to grow quickly once Covid-19-related lockdowns are relaxed. These reforms will help spur the growth of Indian private space companies and increase India”s share in the global space market. It will be a real opportunity for Indian private sector considering the way defence-space is also growing now.

S. Rakesh, Chairman & Managing Director, Antrix Corporation Ltd

Can Privatization Help Expand?
If ISRO is to have a 5% share in Global Space Market – which is valued at approx. ₹25 trillion – it will be required to generate a revenue of ₹1.25 trillion. For that, the number of employees has to be around 1.25 lakh. ISRO would be unable to provide the specified amount of employment as it would inefficient and impractical for a government organization to scale up 10 times.

That gap can be filled by the private sector as it can work efficiently on production and operation with unskilled labour. Multiple private players can result in a competition that may ultimately drive quality. It would reduce the unemployment exacerbated by Coronavirus Lockdown as well.

  • Aryabhata, India’s first satellite, was launched in 1975 by a Russian Kosmos-3m rocket. It was named after Aryabhata-I, the legendary fifth-century Indian mathematician and astronomer from the Gupta Empire.
  • One of the largest beer names in the world, Budweiser also plans to maintain its dominance on Mars. In December 2019, Budweiser launched its barley seeds into space. It’s the fourth in a series of experiments meant to test how the seeds germinate in microgravity. The seeds flew aboard SpaceX’s Dragon Cargo capsule.
  • Origami, the ancient Japanese art of paper folding and craft is widely used in art and craft, 3D architecture and teaching mathematics. But this ancient art is also used by NASA engineers to design spacecrafts. Origami is used to pack the spacecraft in the minimum possible volume and discover various folds to make best use of space.
  • Blue Origin Federation, LLC is an American privately funded aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company headquartered in Kent, Washington. Founded in 2000 by Jeff Bezos, the company is led by CEO Bob Smith and is developing technologies to enable private human access to space with the goal to dramatically lower costs and increase reliability.

Hail Vyommitra! First Indian half-humanoid ready for space ride


ISRO presented its first ‘womanastronaut to an international gathering in Bangalore on Wednesday. Seated at a desk in a uniform and sporting her name on a custom-made ISRO identity badge, Vyommitra, introduced herself to ISRO Chairman K. Sivan and Principal Scientific Adviser K. Vijay Raghavan at the symposium on human space flight in Bangalore.

Crux of the Matter

Most international space missions send mannequins or humanoids in test flights before actually launching a human being into a mission. The most famous of these is Ivan Ivanovich, who flew in the USSR’s Vostok spacecraft in 1961 before Yuri Gagarin.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had mentioned about India’s human spaceflight mission in his Independence Day address in 2018.

Vyommitra gets her name from two Sanskrit words : Vyom which means space and Mitra, meaning friend. She will fly onboard the first two flights of the mission. Only the third Gaganyaan flight will have a ‘human’ crew.

Designed at ISRO’s Inertial Systems Unit in Thiruvananthapuram, Vyommitra is a half humanoid, which means she does not have legs. However, she is interactive enough and will be able to help check the systems in the crew module including temperature, pressure levels and oxygen availability.

The model on display is only a prototype of the robot lady who will fly out by the end of December 2020. She will have some level of autonomy to communicate with the ground station.


Human spaceflight or manned spaceflight is space travel with a crew or passengers aboard the spacecraft. Spacecraft carrying people may be operated directly, by human crew, or it may be either remotely operated from ground stations on Earth or be autonomous, able to carry out a specific mission with no human involvement. The first human in space was Yuri Gagarin, who flew the Vostok 1 spacecraft, launched by the Soviet Union on 12 April 1961 as part of the Vostok program. Humans have flown to the Moon nine times from 1968 to 1972 in the United States Apollo program, and have been continuously present in space for 19 years and 84 days on the International Space Station. All human spaceflight has so far been human-piloted, with the first autonomous human-carrying spacecraft under design starting in 2015. Russia and China have human spaceflight capability with the Soyuz program and the Shenzhou program. In the United States, SpaceShipTwo reached the edge of space in 2018; this was the first crewed spaceflight from the US since the Space Shuttle retired in 2011. More Info

GSAT-30: ISRO's 1st satellite launch of 2020


GSAT-30, providing high-quality television, telecommunications and broadcasting services, was launched early Friday morning by ISRO’s longtime collaborator Arianespace, from Kourou launch base in French Guiana. It is speculated to have a mission life of over 15 years and shall replace an ageing spacecraft INSAT-4A, that was launched in 2005.

Crux of the Matter
  • The Indian communication satellite uses two satellite frequencies, while giving the Indian mainland and islands coverage in the Ku band, and extended coverage in a wider area stretching from Australia to Europe in the lower-frequency C-band.
  • The Ku and C bands are part of a spectrum of frequencies, ranging from 1 to 40 gigahertz, that are used in satellite communications.
  • According to Isro chairman Kailasavadivoo Sivan, “GSAT-30 will provide DTH (direct-to-home) television Services, connectivity to VSATs [Very Small Aperture Terminals] for ATM, stock exchange, television uplinking and teleport services, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) and e-governance applications“.
  • The 3,357 kg satellite is planned to be used for bulk data transfer for a host of emerging telecommunication applications and would be joining 19 other communicational satellites that are currently operational.
  • In times ahead, ISRO gives a promising outlook of using space to bridge the digital divide on the Indian subcontinent, as part of its ambitious space program.

GSAT-30 is a telecommunication satellite developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is based on ISRO’s I-3K bus. It was assembled by a consortium of mid-sized industries led by Alpha Design Technologies Ltd. at ISRO Satellite Integration and Test Establishment at Bengaluru. The satellite’s main communication payload is 12 Ku band transponders for covering Indian mainland and islands and 12 C-band transponders for extended coverage over Asia and Australia. The satellite will act as a replacement for the defunct INSAT-4A. The satellite will provide advanced telecommunication services to the Indian subcontinent. It will be used for VSAT networks, television uplinks, digital satellite news gathering, DTH services and other communication systems. This is the 41st communication satellite launched by ISRO and the 24th launch of ISRO satellite by Arianespace. More Info

ISRO's astronaut training centre to be established in Challakere


The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has proposed a ₹ 2,700-crore master plan to create a top-notch infrastructure that will house its young Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC). Instead of a regular metropolitan city, it plans to establish this space training centre at Challakere, situated on the Bengaluru-Pune NH4 in Karnataka.

Crux of the Matter
  • The HSFC, formally announced in January 2019, works from a temporary place at the ISRO Headquarters, Antariksh Bhavan.
  • The Institute of Aerospace Medicine of the Air Force has been roped in for the selection, basic and final training of astronauts in Challakere.
  • Famous for being called the Science City, it shall host work related to crew and service modules of the spacecraft that carries the astronauts and up to mission control.
  • Currently, ISRO has sought the amount outside the ₹10,000-crore budget of Gaganyaan and awaits the government’s approval of its proposal.
  • S. Unnikrishnan Nair has been named its Founder-Director and R. Hutton the project director of Gaganyaan.

ISRO, is the space agency of the Government of India and has its headquarters in the city of Bengaluru. Its vision is to “harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research & planetary exploration”. The organization has built India’s first satellite, Aryabhata, which was launched by the Soviet Union on 19 April 1975. It was named after the mathematician Aryabhata. In 1980, Rohini became the first satellite to be placed in orbit by an Indian-made launch vehicle, SLV-3. ISRO subsequently developed two other rockets: the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) for launching satellites into polar orbits and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) for placing satellites into geostationary orbits. More Info