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ISRO To Prioritise R&D

Context

The Indian Space Policy-2023 was made public on April 20, 2023, with a focus on research and development of cutting-edge technologies.

Relevance:

GS Paper-3: Awareness in the fields of Space

Mains Question

Describe the key components of the Indian Space Policy 2023 and how they will affect the growth of the Indian space industry. (150 Words)


Encouragement for non-government entities (NGEs):

  • The policy permits non-government entities (NGEs) to provide domestic and international space-based communication services, run ground facilities for space object operations, and engage in end-to-end activities in the space sector.
  • The policy promotes the development and operation of telemetry, tracking, and command (TT&C) Earth Stations and satellite control centres (SCCs) by NGEs for the use of space objects.
  • The policy also encourages NGEs to use Indian orbital resources and/or non-Indian orbital resources to establish space objects for communication services over India and outside, as well as to operate space objects, ground-based assets, and related services such as communication, remote sensing, and navigation.
  • The policy also encourages NGEs to design and develop reusable, recoverable, and reconfigurable space transportation technologies and systems. This includes the manufacture and operation of launch vehicles and space shuttles.

Commercial Recovery of Space Resources:

The Indian Space Policy-2023 also allows NGEs to engage in the commercial recovery of asteroid or space resources. Any NGE engaged in such a process shall be entitled to possess, own, transport, use, and sell any such asteroid or space resource obtained in compliance with applicable law, including the obligations of India under international treaties.

Role of ISRO:

  • Focuses on R&D: o The Policy states that ISRO, as the national space agency, will focus primarily on the research and development of new space technologies and applications as well as on enhancing human understanding of the universe.
    • ISRO will conduct applied research and develop newer systems to meet this objective and maintain India’s competitive advantage in the fields of space infrastructure, space transportation, space applications, capacity building, and human spaceflight.
  • Moving away from Operational Space Systems: According to the Policy, ISRO must move away from its current practise of participating in the production of operational space systems.
    • Mature systems must be transferred to industries for use in commerce.

Distribution of Responsibilities:

  • Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe): o IN-SPACe will grant authorizations to both government entities and NGEs for space activities, such as the establishment and/or operation of space objects, the launch of rockets, the establishment of launchpads, planned re-entry of space objects, and so forth.
    • It will work with industry clusters that are centred on the space sector, strive to make India a top choice for providing goods and services to foreign customers, and collaborate with academic institutions to foster links between the private and public sectors.
    • Frameworks for creating standards for the space industry will also be defined, based on international standards.
    • In consultation with the relevant departments, IN-SPACe will approve the use of space objects for communication and broadcast services.
    • By prioritising their use by Government entities and NGEs, it will ensure an even playing field for the use of all facilities built with public funds. The decisions of IN-SPACe shall be binding on the owners and operators of such facilities, and it will develop the necessary procedures for prioritisation in this regard.
    • Through filings with the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU), it will encourage NGEs to acquire new orbital resources.
  • The commercialization of space technologies and platforms developed with public funds will be the responsibility of New Space India Limited (NSIL).
    • It will also meet users’ needs for space-based services and manufacture, rent, or buy space components.
  • Department of Space: It is responsible for ensuring that the various stakeholders are appropriately empowered to carry out their respective functions without interfering with those of other parties and for overseeing the distribution of the duties outlined in this policy.
  • In addition, the DoS will be in charge of maintaining current and future satellite constellations as well as ground segments, and it will create a framework to ensure safe and sustainable space operations in accordance with applicable international space debris mitigation standards.

Conclusion

The Indian government’s 2020 space sector reforms, which culminated in the Indian Space Policy-2023, mark a significant milestone in the nation’s efforts to encourage private participation and advance the development of advanced space technologies.India is prepared to further solidify its position in the 21st century space industry with the implementation of the policy.


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