Private Players in Space Sector

GS Paper – 3 Space Technology, Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology.

Why in the news?

The Minister of State for the Department of Space (DOS) recently informed the Lok Sabha that the government was considering opening the space sector to FDI.

What is the benefit of this step for ISRO?

  • Activities in Research and Development:

These reforms will enable ISRO to devote greater resources to innovative technologies, exploratory missions, and the human spaceflight programme.

Some of the planetary exploration missions will also be made available to the private sector via a “announcement of opportunity.”

  • Successful Space Technology Dissemination:

Allowing industries and others, such as students, researchers, and academic institutions, more access to space assets would result in considerably better utilisation of India’s space resources.

Global Technology Superpower:

It will allow Indian industry to play a significant role in the global space economy.

This opens up the possibility of large-scale employment in the technology sector, as well as India becoming a global technology powerhouse.

  • Cost-effective:

The operating costs of establishing bases and launching space vehicles in India are significantly lower than those of its rivals, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The FDI will also ensure that modern technology makes it more cost-effective and efficient.

  • Outstanding Success Rate:

ISRO is the world’s sixth largest space agency and has a high success record.

India has created a name for itself by successfully launching 342 (three hundred and forty-two) foreign satellites from 34 (thirty-four) different countries.

What Advantages Do Foreign Investors Have?

  • Innovative Technology:

ISRO possesses cutting-edge technology and is in the midst of launching SSLV (small satellite launch vehicle) in collaboration with private enterprises.

This will make it easier for international investors to build collaborations with India’s space sector.

  • Space Sector Liberalization:

ISRO has developed excellent partnerships with several industrial initiatives over the years, which will be useful to foreign players looking to establish a foothold in India.

What is the Importance of Space Sector Reforms?

1. To Expand the Sector’s Scale:

ISRO is centrally sponsored, with an annual budget of between Rs 14-15,000 crore, which is a drop in the bucket, with the majority of money going toward the development of rockets and satellites.

Private players must enter the market in order for the sector to grow in size.

ISRO intends to share knowledge and technology, like as rocket and satellite production, with all private businesses.

The United States, Europe, and Russia all have space industries with major participants such as Boeing, SpaceX, Airbus, and Virgin Galactic.

2. Private Sector Reforms:

Private businesses can offer the necessary innovation to the development of space-based applications and services.

Furthermore, demand for these services is increasing both globally and in India, with satellite data, imagery, and space technology being used in virtually every industry.

Private companies can engage in the establishment of ground stations for spacecraft, which accounts for 48 percent of the space sector expenditure, as well as the application of space technology, which accounts for 45 percent of the space economy.

What related initiatives have been undertaken?


IN-SPACE was created to level the playing field for private enterprises using Indian space infrastructure.

It serves as a single point of contact between the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and anyone interested in participating in space-related activities or using India’s space resources.

  • NSIL (New Space India Limited):

Its goal, as announced in Budget 2019, is to commercialise ISRO’s years of research and development through Indian business partners.

  • ISpA (Indian Space Association):

ISpA intends to be the Indian space industry’s unified voice. ISpA will be represented by top domestic and international firms with innovative space and satellite technologies.

The Way Forward

  • With one of the world’s top space programmes, the decision to allow FDI in space will make India a bigger player in the global space economy.
  • Foreign direct investment in space will provide foreign players with a portal into the Indian space domain, contributing to India’s national and foreign reserves while also promoting technology transfer and research advancements.

Furthermore, the introduction of the Indian Space Activities Bill will provide better clarity to commercial entities on how to participate in the space sector.


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