17th May 2020, Finance minister Nirmala Sitharam was on the 5th day of announcing several economic reforms for the Indian economy to withstand the COVID-19 impact and come out of it with positive economic growth. Among these announcements, the finance minister announced that the Indian Space Research Organisation will allow private players to carryout space activities.
This announcement was taken up by the public as well as space experts with a lot of positivity as this might help space research in India to flex its muscle and compete with other larger players in the world such as NASA, EASA, and CNSA.
Yesterday(25th June 2020), ISRO Chairman Dr. Sivan officially welcomed the private players in utilizing the already existing infrastructure such as labs to carry out the advanced level tests as well as to built rockets and satellites for space explorations.
For this, the Government of India has initiated a new organization called the IN-SPACe (different from NSIL) as a part of reforms to increase private participation in the space sector. This organization will be made functional within 6 months and will help in assessing the needs of private players in space explorations. It is worth noting that there are already private players involved in the fabrication of rockets and satellites for space explorations in ISRO, but they have been limited mostly to fabrication and manufacturing of parts for the satellites or rockets used in space explorations.
Dr.Sivan said that there were already few companies within India that were in the process of developing their own launch vehicles to carry payloads and satellites to space. Once approved by IN-SPACe, the ISRO will facilitate private players to utilize all its facilities for them to research and develop their own space vehicles. He goes on to say that if they wanted they could even build their own launch pads with the Sriharikota launch station and ISRO would help them with the needed land for it. While all this looks towards a positive increase in space research from Indian companies, we will have to wait and watch how much of this will the private players utilize in forming new space explorations, and will there be another SpaceX from within India?
For the briefing of Dr.K.Sivan, click here.