New space policy sets out roles of private and govt entities

Context: Indian Space Policy – 2023, which was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security on April 6, was made public recently. 

About New India Space Policy 2023

(a) Role of Government entities:

  • Indian Space Research Organisation shall transition out from manufacturing operational space systems and focus its energies on research and development in new space technologies and applications and on expanding the human understanding of outer space.
  • Department of Space has been asked to implement the policy, interpret and clarify any ambiguities and establish a framework for safe and sustainable space operations and ensure that the different stakeholders are suitably empowered to discharge their respective functions without overlapping into the others’ domains.
  • Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) shall function as an autonomous government organization, mandated to promote, hand-hold, guide and authorise space activities in the country.
  • NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), as the public sector undertaking under the Department of Space, shall be responsible for commercialising space technologies and platforms created through public expenditure. The policy:
    • Mandated NSIL to manufacture, lease or procure space components, technologies, platforms and other assets from the private or the public sector on sound commercial principles.
    • Tasked NSIL to service the space-based needs of users, whether government entities or non-government entities, on sound commercial principles.

(b) Role of Private companies:

  • Private companies, referred to as non-governmental entities in the policy, will be allowed to undertake end-to-end space activity — launching and operating satellites, developing rockets, creating ground stations, building spaceports and mobile launch platforms, and providing services like communication, remote sensing and navigation, nationally and internationally.
  • Private entities have also been encouraged to develop space situational awareness capabilities — a mechanism to track objects in space and avoid collision of satellites and space stations with each other or space debris.
  • Private players can engage in the “commercial recovery” of asteroids or space resources. The companies will be entitled to “possess, own, transport, use, and sell” such resources in accordance with the law.

(c) Empower Indian Consumers:Indian consumers of space technology or services — such as communication, remote sensing, data services and launch services – whether from the public or the private sector, shall be free to directly procure them from any source.

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