India sets up IN-SPACe to expand and administer private participation in its space market
Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation (IN-SPACe) is a regulatory body that will be established by the central government to expand its space market.
During an exclusive interview with TOI, K Sivan, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) stated that IN-SPACe is the fourth vertical under the department of space. The nodal agency will not affect or interfere in the functioning of ISRO. IN-SPACe is an autonomous body which won't influence ISRO and vice-versa.
K Sivan further informed IN-SPACe's only mission-specific decisions will be binding. The nodal agency will consult with ISRO before taking any decision, like a demand for using testing facilities or systems of ISRO.
Private players in the space sectors create and supply components of rockets and satellites to ISRO. However, now the private players can create their own satellites and use ISRO's facility(ies) to launch them at a fee. This step towards enabling the private sector to make their rockets and satellites revolutionise the entire process.
While previously, satellites were created only at ISRO. Mr Sivan was quoted saying, "Students can make mini-satellites and launch them from ISRO facilities and we can give them a concession. We may also allow a free launch on a case-to-case basis."
In the space market of $360 billion, India's contribution has only been 3 per cent. With the introduction of private players, it has the potential to bring drastic changes in the Indian space sector. K Sivan believes, PM Narendra Modi's initiative to encourage more private players to participate in the space sector will help them meet the country's requirement efficiently.
This year, ISRO is planning to launch four to five satellite missions including remote sensing and communication satellites.
The pandemic has halted training of astronauts in Russia who were preparing for the Gaganyaan manned mission. According to an ISRO official, Gaganyaan manned mission will launch in August 2022 instead of December 2021.
There were plans on launching unmanned mission carrying "humanoid" this year, but due to the pandemic, it will be now launched next year.
"With the present situation, we are targeting the launch of Chandrayaan-3 next year, " said K Sivan in an interview with TOI.