Chennai: Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Dr K Sivan on Monday (September 13) said that there is a lot of interest shown by foreign space firms in collaborating with the Indian space sector and that the new FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) Policy for the space domain is in the process of getting ready.
Referring to the reforms that were introduced in the Indian Space sector in 2020, he said that space was no longer confined to the Indian government activities alone. He emphasised that India’s private sector is playing a role in everything ranging from building rockets, satellite, offering space-based services and mission services.
“The Space FDI Policy is getting revised and it will open up a huge avenue of opportunities. Foreign companies can tie-up with Indian ones and this will enable the combine to be competitive with global space players. There is a lot of interest from abroad for collaboration” Dr. Sivan said.
Dr Sivan noted that the recent successful spaceflight of billionaire entrepreneurs from the US have made commercial space travel a reality.
Addressing the inaugural session of the ‘Building NewSpace in India’ International Space Conference and Exhibition, Dr Sivan, who also serves as Secretary, Department of Space, spoke about the plethora of opportunity that lay in store for India’s space sector.
“In terms of ground-based services, there is mobile broadband and connectivity for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. In orbit, small satellites had proven significantly useful in both communication and earth observation purposes and the demand for high-throughput (generally more than 100 Gb/s data transfer) satellites is ever-growing,” he said.
Referring to the larger national goals such as sustainable development, digital economy, he emphasised that space technology and its applications would play a major role. He expressed confidence that the private industry was ready to support the country in achieving space goals and urged the different stakeholders, to work in a synergic manner.
On the enthusiastic participation of private players after the 2020 space reforms, Dr Sivan said that over 40 applications and proposals from private players were under various stages of consideration. Of this, a major chunk of the applications came in from start-ups and newly incorporated firms. An example of this was the recent MoU that ISRO and the Indian start-up Skyroot Aerospace signed for testing the latter’s rocket hardware at the former’s facilities.
On the future role of ISRO, he said the state-run agency would concentrate its efforts and resources on Research and Development and space science missions in order to reduce the technology gap. He added that ISRO’s facilities and expertise would be leveraged so that the combination of government and private sector can boost the economy.