India’s space sector leaps forward with public-private partnerships
Representative image. | Photo credit: PTI
- As it stands, the global space economy is valued at around $ 360 billion, of which India is just 2%, a PwC report noted.
- With the signing of two key memoranda of understanding last week, India’s space ambitions have taken their first step towards a reality
- Agnikul can now test its 3D printed semi-cryo engine (as well as other systems) while Skyroot can continue its launcher development program.
The Indian space sector has come a long way since the establishment of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) by Vikram Sarabhai in 1969. Since its inception, ISRO has propelled the Indian space program to new heights, as evidenced by more recently the launch of significant space missions. like Chandrayaan-1 (2008), Mangalyaan (2013) and Chandrayaan-2 (2019).
But as it stands, the global space economy is valued at around $ 360 billion, of which India is just 2%, a PwC report noted. If the Indian space sector is to meet its target of $ 50 billion over the next five years, then it will need to grow at a compound aggregate growth rate (CAGR) of 48%.
The central government’s decision in June to implement reforms in the space sector, paving the way for improved public-private partnerships, was significant recognition of this.
Welcoming the Cabinet reforms, ISRO chief K Sivan said at the time: “The space sector, where India is one of a handful of countries with advanced space technologies, can play a role. important in strengthening India’s industrial base. The government has decided to implement reformed measures to build on ISRO’s achievements by opening up the space sector to private companies.
Just one month after announcing the reforms, India’s nodal space agency confirmed that it had already received 27 proposals from the private sector to collaborate in a range of space-related activities. And with the signing of two key memoranda of understanding last week, India’s space ambitions have taken their first step towards a reality.
According to reports, ISRO has now signed agreements with two space startups – Skyroot and Agnikul – to build rockets and launchers, giving the two companies access to ISRO’s state-of-the-art facilities.
Agnikul can now, it seems, test its 3D printed semi-cryo motor (along with other systems) while Skyroot can continue its launcher development program. In the midst of this, it was also reported that the Bengaluru-based startup Bellatrix had opened a new lab, while Pixxel began preparations for the launch of its first satellite on a PSLV.
Speaking to TOI last week, Sivan said of the agreements, “These agreements were written after careful consideration of what these companies do. This is only the beginning and we will see many more private companies in the months to come.
The announcement of space sector reforms also coincided with the creation of an autonomous nodal agency, the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe), to facilitate public-private partnerships.
As more and more private actors become interested in the development of launchers, satellites or other space-related services, the efficient functioning of IN-SPACe will be essential.
In addition, India continues to lack national space legislation or marketing guidelines regarding space related business activities, which could lead to complex disputes between public sector companies and private actors.
While experts have noted that such regulation should be of a “light” nature, it will be essential to allay the anxiety of venture capital funds which, to date, have largely refrained from converting. preliminary interest in full investment interest.