India's growing space sector has immense opportunities for industry and startup companies.
India’s growing space sector has immense opportunities for industry and startup companies, and the Indian industry will continue to play an important role in the changing global space landscape, according to Dr. K Sivan, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), and also Secretary of the Department of Space.
“Industry including startups will have a gamut of new opportunities in areas like building and launching launch vehicles and satellites, developing satellite-based services and ground-level systems, undertaking R&D, and supporting mission services,” Dr. Sivan said during the three-day International Conference & Exhibition on Space-2021, hosted on the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Hive virtual platform.
Highlighting the importance of cooperation and collaboration in the Indian space sector that has been significantly opened up by Government of India since 2020, Dr. Sivan said that industry will be called upon to play a critical role in dealing with various issues like congestion in space, using scarce frequency, mobilization and utilization of technological and financial resources, among others.
Underlining the growing importance of space technology and applications in diverse streams, Dr. Sivan said that wide-scale use of mobile applications and IoT, along with broadcasting and remote sensing activities have spurred the demand for space tech and applications, which are also needed for furthering sustainable development. He said the Department of Space is deeply committed to ensuring a level playing field for industry, and said the Indian National Space and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe) will play a pioneering role in furthering the joint efforts of ISRO and Indian industry and start-ups to leverage the emerging commercial opportunities in the space sector.
Underscoring the new opportunities for foreign companies to invest in the Indian space sector, Dr. Sivan said that the FDI norms about the space sector are being reviewed by the Government. International Conference & Exhibition on Space 2021 is being organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with Antrix Corp., ISRO, and NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL).
Dr Pawan Goenka, Chairman Designate, IN-SPACe; Dr R Umamaheshwaran, Scientific Secretary, ISRO and Incharge (IN-SPACe activities); Nico van Putten, Deputy Director, Netherland Space Office (NSO); Anthony Murfett, Deputy Head, Australia Space Agency; Dr D. Radhakrishnan, Chairman and Managing Director, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL); Rajan Navani, Chairman, CII India@75 Council; Rakesh Sasibhushan, Chairman, CII National Committee on Space, and CMD, Antrix Corporation Limited; and A Arunachalam, Director, NSIL were also present during the program.
“While India has been at the forefront of space technology, the country has less than two percent share of the global space industry that is estimated to be of the size of $440 billion. Today, as the space sector opens up, several startups are coming up in the area, some of which could even go on to become unicorns,” said Dr. Pawan Goenka, Chairman Designate, IN-SPACe. He further said that IN-SPACe will be focused upon providing greater policy and regulatory clarity to industry, promoting private investment opportunities, identifying new space technology applications, ensuring seamless coordination between the different space agencies, opening up overseas markets for domestic suppliers, facilitating cross-deployment of technologies, among others.
Dr. R Umamaheshwaran, Scientific Secretary, ISRO and Incharge (IN-SPACe activities), said that IN-SPACe will be playing a catalytic role in promoting, handholding, monitoring and authorizing private players operating in the domestic space sector. He also mentioned that the industry has submitted various proposals for upstream and downstream activities that are being reviewed and will be acted upon. The Space Bill is also under consideration. Looking ahead, he said, a thriving space sector is taking shape in India.
Nico van Putten, Deputy Director, Netherland Space Office (NSO) said that the Netherlands and India are furthering bilateral cooperation for space technology application in areas like monitoring of air quality and climate, earth observation in the realms of water resources and agriculture, miniaturization and development of nano-satellites, and manufacturing of components and sub-systems.
Applauding India for its milestone Gaganyaan program, Anthony Murfett, Deputy Head, Australia Space Agency, said, “There is immense scope for deep collaboration between Australian and Indian companies engaged in space technology and applications.” He pointed out that the Australian Government is aiming to triple the size of its space industry from A$4 billion currently to A$12 billion by 2030. The global space industry size is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2040.
“Space missions are now moving towards a demand-driven model. That would also call for the investment opportunities to be made attractive for private players,” said Dr. D. Radhakrishnan, Chairman and Managing Director, NSIL. Alluding to the space reforms undertaken by the Government of India, he said, NSIL will play a major role in facilitating the transfer of technology to the private sector.
Rakesh Sasibhushan, Chairman, CII National Committee on Space, and CMD, Antrix said that foray of private companies in the commercial services segments of space will lend great vibrancy to the whole industry, which in turn will contribute significantly to the national GDP.