- India contributes less than 2 per cent at around $8 billion to the space economy which is very less compared to the world’s contribution worth $500 billion. However India tries to increase the contribution with its multipronged efforts.
- The space economy is defined as a range of activities and use of resources to create value while exploring, researching, managing, and utilizing space.
India’s efforts towards increasing contribution to space economy
- Indian space policy: It targets pushing India’s contribution to the space economy up to around $45 billion over the next 10 years.
- InSpace: It is the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), that will seek new opportunities.
- Role of private players: ISRO will focus on transferring its technical knowhow and providing support such as access to its facilities to private players who look to absorb that intellectual property and find new ways to exploit it. Around 85 per cent of the components of Chandrayaan-3, including the rockets, were manufactured by commercial organizations.
- India signing the Artemis Accords implies Indian companies would be eligible to bid for future contracts of NASA which implies multiple potential opportunities.
- Artemis is a non-binding treaty for space exploration of the moon, Mars and beyond.
India’s achievements in space sector with increased role of private sector
- India already has over 400 startups focused on aerospace, as well as a host of large engineering outfits which have established a toe hold in space.
- About 50,000 satellites are likely to be launched in the next 10 years.
- The entry of private players has reduced satellite launch costs by close to 90 per cent on a per kilogram basis.
- The transfer of technologies will mean they will be capable of building rockets end-to-end as well as establish their own launch facilities.
Significance of space economy for India
- Space economy serves as an enabler of growth and innovation.
- It drives applications across sectors as diverse as meteorology, agro-sciences, energy, telecommunications, insurance, transport, maritime support, mining exploration, civil aviation, road and power line alignments, forest cover management, and urban development.
- It plays a role in creating hardware, software, and applications across many new niches.
- Opens new frontiers like mining asteroids for rare metals and gasses, and the possibility that space habitats can be adapted for marine exploration, or off-the-shelf applications like better vacuum cleaners, toilets, wastewater recycling, and air-filtration systems.
- India’s vast engineering workforce could find new opportunities in a variety of ways and hence the need for governments around the world is to find a balance in terms of allowing private sector exploitation of space via light-touch regulation, while trying to ensure the avoidance of environmental and other hazards.